At Westport Whiskey & Wine, a sneak preview of Orin Swift’s The Prisoner, 2008 vintage, due to be released in a few weeks. It’s a cool thing that this sneak came our way, a real treat.
The Prisoner is an oddball mix of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Grenache. It’s brilliantly branded and positioned, and has a history of great reviews from serious people. The 2005 vintage made #17 in the Wine Spectator Top 100. Blogs and bulletin boards are goofy for the stuff.
We had an incredibly rare magnum of 2002 Prisoner some weeks back and it was an absolute revelation. We dubbed it “god juice”.
And I’ve got to tell you: I don’t get what the fuss is about.
The nose wasn’t much; I felt like the only thing I was smelling was the Charbono, and not a generous whiff of that. Maybe if it had been decanted for a while the nose would have opened.
In the mouth it was a big, fleshy wine with medium/low tannins and medium/lower acidity. It seemed almost sweet. I got a tight core of blackberry and plum that reminded me a little of classified Bordeaux. Also, a surprising taste of old honey. I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted honey in a red wine before, but there it was.
When I write it down, it sounds better than it was. I can chalk up a lot of what I tasted to the wine’s youth. Bottled only three weeks ago, the blend of so many grapes hasn’t had time to coalesce into something whole. But even given time, a tannic structure isn’t going to mystically appear. So maybe its a style thing. I just need a little more structure in a big red wine, I guess.
Maybe I’m just wrong.
This isn’t a wine I’m going to buy. I don’t have to feel bad about that because lots of people will and, judging from the feedback, they’re going to love what they’re drinking. Which is one of the great things about wine: it takes all kinds.