Orin Swift Eight Years in the Desert 2021


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Alcohol: 16.1%

Grape(s): Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah

Localization: Napa Valley, North Coast, California

Tasting Notes: Evolving aromatics present themselves first with black and white pepper, then a ripe fruit core of brambly raspberry and sweet persimmon, finishing with savory notes of allspice, clove and fig leaf.

93 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Medium garnet-purple colored, the 2019 Zinfandel Blend 8 Years in the Desert delivers notions of stewed plums, baked raspberries and fruitcake with hints of powdered cinnamon, clove oil, tree bark, hoisin and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is chock-full of ripe, spicy black and red fruits, supported by chewy tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long and earthy.

Food pairing: Bone-in prime rib steaks.

The Domain: Eight Years in the Desert represents Orin Swift’s full-circle, which began with two tons of Zinfandel in 1998. In 2000, the Zinfandel wasn’t great as a single-varietal, so Dave Phinney, Orin Swift founder, created a blend and produced the inaugural vintage of The Prisoner, which he continued to make for the following eight vintages before selling The Prisoner brand. Eight Years in the Desert’s name references his eight-year non-compete agreement where Orin Swift couldn’t produce Zinfandel Blends, and lucky for us, they’ve now escaped those bounds.

Calling on a vast collection of premier vineyards spanning California’s most ideal growing regions, 8 Years in the Desert is premeditatively crafted in a bold, approachable style, bearing delectable complexity and seductive fruits.

Creatively, beginning in 2017, each sequential vintage of this wine reveals a new label that will continue for eight vintages. The 2019 release is centered around Zinfandel and magnified by Petite Sirah and Syrah, aged eight months in French and American oak.