Wine Talk with Alice Swift
Alice’s Picks for the Holidays
I don’t know about you, but it seems 2017 has flown by so quickly! In the spirit of the holidays, and to ensure everyone has some good wines to pair with their end-of-year celebratory meals, it’s now time for some recommendations for the holidays!
This year, it appears that one of the many wine trends is all about the blends. Since many people are spending their money on presents and large feasts for family and friends, my picks this holiday season will focus on staying within a reasonable budget.
Have any of you heard of the winemaker Dave Phinney? You may have heard of some of his well-known wines under his label Orin Swift: Prisoner, Saldo, Papillon, Abstract, Veladora, and the list goes on. In 2010, the Prisoner and Saldo brands were sold to Huneeus Vintners, who also owns Quintessa in Napa Valley. More recently, in 2016, E&J Gallo purchased Phinney’s company, Orin Swift, retaining most of the brands. However, Phinney did retain a couple of his wines, as well as his personal plots of land in northern California. My picks for this holiday season are one of Phinney’s retained brands: Locations.
The concept is unique and intriguing, captivating those who enjoy a backstory behind the label. Phinney is known in the industry as being a risk taker who chooses to be different, from the winemaking to the label artwork and beyond.
Locations wine is unique in that each of the wines are sourced from a particular country or region. Phinney chose to throw the rules out the window and utilize whatever means necessary to “produce a wine that represented a country of origin,” even if it meant cross-appellation blending. For many this is unusual because it would then be unable to meet the criteria to meet many country’s appellation designations beyond “table wine.” The story behind Locations wine is actually quite fascinating: www.locationswine.com/story.
Simple, Complex, and Fun.
These are the words that represent the vision of Locations. Creating the best wine that represents the region without compromise or rules, while having fun at the same time. Even the labels are unique in that they each have a single letter displayed, with a small flag detail to the sides.
Under the Locations brand, there is something for everyone. There are Old World wine regions: Spanish (E), France (F), Italy (I), Corsican White Wine (CORSE) and Portuguese Red Wine (P). Then there are New World wine regions, including lesser known states in the US: Argentina (AR), California (CA), Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (NZ), Oregon Pinot Noir (OR), Washington Red Wine (WA) and Texas Red Wine (TX).
What’s great about these wines? While Phinney has his higher end labels, the Locations brand offers their wines at under $25 a bottle, making it much easier to obtain high quality wines from regions that often can cost much more.
The wines are a great value for the cost, and Phinney is such a talented winemaker and businessman. I am always eager to see what he comes up with next, because it is sure to stand out in the wine world.
This holiday season, be bold, be daring and try out one of Phinney’s Location wines! After having tried a select few of the wines (F, I, CA), I can say I am impressed and look forward to trying out some of the others.
Have a safe and joyous remainder of 2017 with your family and friends, and I will see you in the New Year!
Until then, Cheers~!