I first encountered the winemaking of Dave Phinney while perusing the wine collection of a dude I was dating at the time. About three years ago or so. He had a bottle amongst his collection with a white label that had a big, black “F” in the center and a small French flag to the side of that “F”. I was intrigued and asked him about the bottle. He proceeded to tell me about this winemaker, Dave Phinney, who has a super cool label called Orin Swift and a tasting room right in downtown St. Helena. That Orin Swift is a must visit next time I’m up in Napa and apparently the wine already had a large cult following. Dave’s latest project is Locations, which involves him traveling to different wine regions throughout the world and producing a wine in each region visited that is representative of place. Honestly, sounds like a dream come true to me!
Though that relationship did not progress much further, my affinity for Dave Phinney’s wines has continued to grow. Though Orin Swift was closed on my first trip up to Napa over a Christmas holiday, I was finally able to make it in for a tasting at Orin Swift on one of my trips earlier this year. The small tasting room had the coolest vibe. The decor was minimal and the stonework of the tasting room was gorgeous. There were a ton of people tasting when we visited, but the staff was still super attentive and informative. My favorite part of the experience, besides the fact there were 3 tasting flights to choose from, was learning Dave actually started in the wine industry harvesting the vineyards with all of the laborers. He worked his way up to where he is today. The American dream is alive and real, people!
Orin Swift just had a cool vibe and looking around the room at the younger set of people there to drink Dave’s wines, I got the sense I wasn’t the only one feeling the vibe. I fell in love with the Grenache being poured in the tasting room that day. I liked it so much I decided to bring home a bottle with me. And when I popped open said bottle at home months later, I still loved it so much I was prompted to write and share these tasting notes. I guess in hopes of encouraging others to try Dave’s wines, but also just because I love Grenache and this was such a unique and impressive interpretation of the variety.