Orin Swift Machete California Petite Sirah Red Blend 2017


Dave Phinney, the winemaker/creator behind Orin Swift sounds like a fun guy who doesn’t mind shaking things up. Just take a look at his out-there wine labels and you’ll get the drift. And he writes a pretty entertaining brochure by way of introduction to his brand, Orin Swift, which sources grapes from throughout California. Machete? Weird wine name, right? It’s a play on grapes making the (machete) cut to qualify for inclusion in the petite sirah (aka durif)/syrah/grenache blend. 

The blend comes under cork in a wax-topped, super heavy wine bottle (just so you know it’s an expensive wine) and arrives in the glass with a super-charged high alcohol of 15.6%.  Bold is its middle name. But – and it’s a big but – Machete then proceeds to quietly allay any misconceptions you might be harbouring. This is a serious wine. 

Deep, dark and inky, it opens with a rush of dusty blackberry, cassis, spice, toasty oak, lifted and nicely joined in unison. There’s a sense of controlled winemaking, nothing too flashy or obvious, where the complexity of fruit is the star. The mouth fills with flavour with a touch of grenache confection and violets mixing with chocolate, anise and an earthiness. Firm structural support courtesy of ripe tannins complete the picture.