Red Wine


Orin Swift Abstract is a relatively new California red wine gem from Dave Phinney, a gifted and fast-rising winemaker.  Dave is the owner of Orin Swift Cellars, and has come a long way since beginning his career with 2 tons of purchased Zinfandel grapes just a year out of college in 1998! His wine-making success includes some phenomenal wines such as Papillon and The Prisoner, and he launched the Abstract label with the 2009 vintage. Abstract came out of Dave’s love of Grenache and a desire to make a blend using that varietal as the focal point. The wine has an inky concentration rounded out with Petite Sirah and Syrah. 

Groth Cabernet Sauvignon

Groth Vineyards was founded in Napa Valley in 1982 with the goal of making great cabernet sauvignon. It didn’t take long before the winery achieved that goal and became very popular:  Groth’s 1985 Reserve Cabernet was the first California wine to get 100 points from Robert Parker, an influential wine critic.  The popularity of their reserve cab was so high that for next several years, people lined up to buy their new vintage. 

The Prisoner

The Prisoner was created by Orin Swift Cellars founder Dave Phinney, who grew it from 400 cases to 85,000 in just 10 vintages. In 2010, he sold it, along with Saldo Zinfandel, to Huneeus Vintners, which owns Quintessa in Napa and Neyen in Chile, among other brands. Phinney stayed on as winemaker during a transition phase, but starting with the 2013 vintage, Jen Beloz is in charge of The Prisoner, Saldo and a new lineup of wines, including Blindfold, Cuttings (a Cabernet-based blend) and Thorn (a Merlot-based blend). 

Petite Sirah Wine

Petite Sirah has been leaping to the best wine lists of connoisseurs and everyday enthusiasts. From its bold origination in the Rhone Valley of France, California (particularly in the Paso Robles region) has been making a strong showing with the most recent productions. The consumption of Petite Sirah has also been showing strong growth in Israel, Australia, South Africa and across much of South America. The Petite Sirah wine is produced from a traditional red wine grape that got its name because of the its relative size. It is smaller than many of the other red wine grapes, and so it became known as petite. This has nothing to do with how the wine tastes on the palate. Actually, the grape has a thick skin and a dark red color, and is loaded with strong tannins. This give the wine a full bodied taste, and it has some bold and big jammy flavor. Often there will be strong overtones of black pepper, spice, and an overall dark fruit flavor. Even though the names are similar, Petite Sirah is not the same as the grape which produces Syrah (also known as Shiraz) wines. The grapes may be a cross-pollination of another regional Rhone grape known as Durif (sometimes Peloursin). DNA testing is still not conclusive about this.

Top Rose Wines to Try

Rosé wines are known for being versatile, and the best wine to accompany food. Because of the run of “White Zin” there is a misconception that Rosé wine is an overly sweet starter wine. Despite this challenge to their image, sales of Rosé wine are rising as their quality is being discovered and recognized by wine lovers. Rose wines are in fact definitively dry, not sweet. In addition to this, the price of most of these wines provides excellent value for money. The pink hues of the various Rosé wines are a result of the brief time that the juice comes into contact with the grape skin. Best Served Chilled.

Overview of Rose Wine

While it may be called rosato in Italy, rose in the US and rosado in Spain, the names all point to wines that are pink in color. Just as there are many shades of color for other types of wine, roses also come in many shades thanks to what variety of grapes used to make them and how long the skin of the grape is left to sit in the juice. The flavors range from bone dry to sweet or even decidedly dry, if the rose wine is from Europe.