One of our favorite California producers is Orin Swift Cellars. You've probably seen this distinctive label, at left, on a bottle of The Prisoner, their flagship wine.
Though we are not usually big fans of very ripe and wines, The Prisoner is a lush style that actually works. The Prisoner is all about big fruit, alcohol and with enough freshness to keep it from getting boring. The wine is a blend of Zinfandel with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Grenache. We fortunately have a few of the 2005 vintage left (it's been sold out for a long time) and have recently been drinking the 2007 (about $34). We've had this wine with steak, roasts, or by itself.
When we visited their tasting room in St. Helena, CA in the Napa Valley, we tasted the inaugural 2007 Saldo before it was available. Saldo is a juicy Zinfandel-based blend that's balanced - you will not be disappointed. Like the Prisoner, it's meant for enjoyment as it's made in a 'ready to drink' style.
The 2007 Veladora (left photo) is a crisp white with fruit from the Tofanelli Vineyard. The Veladora is predominantly Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of Semillon. This clean, fresh, crisp white is a great aperitif and food pairing. Pure fruit, green apple and peach as it warms with nice acidity to balance the fruit. If you tire of oak bombs, this is a great choice. Plus, profits go to support Puertas Abiertas, a charity that provides services to those in need without concern for immigration status.
We also have the rare 2005 Mercury Head and the 2005 Papillon as well to enjoy down the road.
Orin Swift Cellars is located at 1352 Main Street in St. Helena, CA. Tastings by appointments only. Ask for EJ, you will really enjoy getting to know the unique wines.