The last time OC Wine Mart had a virtual tasting with Dave Phinney, he had to be evacuated from his Napa home due to the fires during the tasting. He has graciously agreed to redo the tasting, this time featuring a different set of wines except for the Mercury Head. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.
The story began in 1995, when on a whim, Phinney went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. There he fell in love with Italy’s wine and food culture. After his Italian stint, he went back to the University of Arizona to complete his degree in Political Science but luckily for us, he decided not to go to law school. Four days after graduation, he moved to Napa Valley.
He ended up sending his resume to over fifty wineries. Only one responded – Robert Mondavi Winery hired Phinney as a temporary harvest worker and he was the only white guy in an all-Latino crew. The following year, Dave started his own winery with a couple tons of Zinfandel and not much else. He paid tribute to his parents with the name – Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. The first two vintages were a failure but he finally struck gold in the year 2000 with his 3rd attempt, a kitchen sink Red Blend he called The PRISONER. The rest is history.
After he sold the Prisoner brand in 2010, he signed a non-compete agreement not to make a Zinfandel blend for 8 years. After those years passed, he promptly made 8 years in a Desert! This ripe and juicy wine is packed with blueberry and sweet black cherry along with touch of fresh herbs—thyme, savory and tarragon.
Dave is known for his clever, catchy and creative labels. As a child, he used to collect coins including the silver Mercury Head dimes. The coins haven’t been in production since 1945, but that didn’t deter him from his idea to stick a Liberty dime to the front of every bottle of Mercury Head. The grapes that go into his flagship wine, Mercury Head hail from Phinney’s best lots in the Napa Valley. This powerful wine opens with aromatics of ripe raspberry, blackcurrant, cigar box and a hint of fresh sandalwood, dark chocolate, and Herbs de Provence.
The Papillon is his popular Bordeaux Blend, comprising of mostly Cabernet with aromatics of ripe boysenberry and mixed berry pie. And finally the Abstract is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. This wine pulls you in with notes of blueberry, black fig, bloodied strawberry and hints of rhubarb.
They will be offering a Tasting Pack of 3 full-sized wines for $145.
- Orin Swift Abstract
- Orin Swift Papillon
- Orin Swift 8 Years in a Desert
- Optional Add-on: Orin Swift Mercury Head $129.98Date: Thursday, October 22Time: 6-7pm
Place: Your computer, iPad, or phone
Cost: $145 for the Virtual Tasting Pack plus Optional Wine
RSVP: Please call/text 714.785.5451 to order your Tasting Sets & RSVP.
RSVP for Upcoming Virtual Tastings:
October 29 – Prisoner Wine Company Tasting
November 13 – Olive Oil & Wine Tasting with Grgich Hills
November 19 – En Route & Far Niente Winery Tasting
December 4 – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars & Coravin Tasting