The Prisoner 2011
A dramatic name for an incredible wine, The Prisoner (yes, that’s the name of the wine) is Napa Valley based Dave Phinney’s underdog wine which has left wine lovers world over spellbound. The label is the reproduction of artist Francisco Goya’s etching also named The Prisoner; Phinney was presented the etching by his parents and was the inspiration behind the label.
The Prisoner is a blend of 6 red varietals where Zinfandel is the primary grape along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Charbono and Grenache. Phinney and his team led by winemaker Jen Beloz, started producing this wine in 2003 with just 300 bottles but as more and more connoisseurs recognized the wine for its quality and strengths, they increased the production capacity to 70000 cases annually.
What is interesting about these wines is the fact is that they come from a genre of winemakers who do not own a vineyard or a winery. The wine is made from grapes purchased from farmers on contract and the vinification processes are conducted in leased winery. The grapes are purchased from all across Napa Valley, a region which constitutes for only 4% wines from the entire state of California in the US.
The Prisoner is purely a winemaker’s wine where his skill and craftsmanship is the showcase. The 2011 vintage has 15.2% alcohol and is a robust full bodied wine with brilliant structure. It has been aged in both French and American oak of which 20% is new oak.
Nose: Full of red fruits with earthiness, cinnamon, cloves and cigar box like cedar wood and tobacco notes.
Palate: Lots of black currants and cherries right away, leading to pepper and again those cigar box notes. There are not only hints of spices but herbs like rosemary as well as vanilla and espresso on the finish. Full bodied wine, full of flavors which keep evolving within the glass. One of the most interesting red wines we have tasted in a while.
It is an expensive wine, priced at Rs 8885 in Mumbai retail. Available with importer Vishal Kadakia’s wine retail venture The Wine Kart, it is a wine you’ll want to hold onto, cherish and savor, and wish the bottle never got empty.