Orin Swift Machete 2017


I was not quite sure what to expect here, with a wine called Machete; dangerous, steely, shocking. As it turns out it was my favourite of the Orin Swift range and highlighted the potential of Californian Petite Sirah. In Australia, we call this grape durif and it has shown itself to be well suited to warm climates, which is why California works a treat.

The blend of petite sirah, syrah and grenache is black as night and immediately brooding and savoury – it reminds me of wines from Sicily or Heathcote and it is the most subtle of all the Orin Swift wines. There is a beautiful array of fruits – blackberry, olive tapenade with spicy, baked earth plus sweet oak giving another dimension. Dry, dense and hearty, it is powerful but balanced with layers of ripe fruit including tarry, liquorice allsorts and graphite complexity supported by mouth coating tannins and an acid twist that brightens up a long finish. Great wine now but will also kick on for some years to come.