Orin Swift Palermo Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017


That label! What is that? Well, it’s a photo of a mummified priest taken in a 16th Century catacomb in Palermo, Sicily. Believe it or not, the winemaker, Dave Phinney, thought of cabernet sauvignon when he saw it: “There is such a sense of power and dignity and reverence to the image that I thought that’s kind of how we think about great cabernet.” Can’t see it myself but I think your average wine marketer would take one look at it and say that it screams new gen drinker.

Cabernet sauvignon with a lick of petite sirah (2%) and syrah (1%), Palermo is as rich, textured and generous as it looks.  And at 15.2% alcohol, it’s in the fuller-bodied spectrum. The overriding impression is of a wine in building mode with the individual constituents still coming together. It’s definitely a keeper, capable of some extended ageing.

It bursts out of the glass in vibrant black and blue berry fruits, cherry, liquorice strap and vanilla pod. Svelte of texture, layered in flavour, Palermo delivers sure-footed fruit intensity, woody spices and high toast oak with ripe, savoury tannins which bring it all together on a long finish.