Decoding Orin Swift Winemaker Dave Phinney's "E" Spanish Red

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I keep seeing email offers for this "E" wine and seeing it on retailer shelves so I decided to buy a bottle of it. I vaguely knew that it was part of Orin Swift (the Prisoner being probably their most famous wine) winemaker's foray into international wines.

Reading a bit more about it, it sounds like these are old world grapes made in a new world style. This particular bottling, E-2 (the E is for Esapana, and this is their second non-vintage bottling from Spain), is comprised of red grapes from some of Spain's most desirable regions: Priorat, Jumilla, Toro, Rioja, and Ribera del Duero.

For me, Spain is the next best place to look if you've gotten into wine through California and you're looking to branch out. The wines have a similar flavor profile and are more wallet-friendly. You can't just throw darts but it doesn't take much sleuthing to find tremendous value wines from Spain.

So this wine sounds right in my wheelhouse. And tasting it - it is. Rich, juicy fruit - it presents itself with more "sweetness" (a term I hesitate to use as it implies residual sugar, but I don't know how else to say it) than Alto Moncayo Veraton for example. Where Alto Moncayo (Veraton and proper) differentiate themselves compared to this E bottling is that Alto Moncayo brings more savory notes, which I find tremendously appealing when combined with rich fruit and vibrant acidity.

I'd rate the E-2 in the 88-89 point range.

According to Robert Parker went nuts for these wines:
If you judge wines on how they taste and the degree of pleasure they offer, they are all incredible efforts. The three new cuvees I tasted are among the finest wine values one could hope to find. Moreover, there are 50,000 cases of each, no easy feat given the grapes Phinney has accessed and the quality he has turned out. As of now, Dave Phinney might be my “value winemaker of the year” candidate. P.S. It’s too expensive for this report, but I am including it as an hommage to what Dave Phinney has achieved. If there are better wines for under $20 a bottle in the world today, please share that information with The Wine Advocate.
93 Points The Wine Advocate
You can buy this at using code AMEX30 to get $30 off $100. Use it to round out a purchase at just over $100. At $17.99 in Massachusetts with 30% off, free shipping and no tax that would bring the price down to ~$12.59 a bottle. More info on how to maximize the deal here.

Click here to shop for this on (affiliate link):
Locations by Dave Phinney E on

Question of the Day: Have you had any of these Locations wines from Dave Phinney? If so, what did you think?


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