02/05/10 – The Prisoner vertical tasting

By Jesse on February 3, 2010

Occasionally, the Young Winos of LA dispatch with the usual brand of weekly tastings and do something truly special. This is one of those weeks. (And no, not just because the tasting is on a Friday night… although that was definitely clue number one that something phenomenal is afoot.)

In March of 2008, when the LA chapter’s blog was in its infancy, Jordan and I posted our review of the 2005 Orin Swift “Papillon” Red Wine, a $56 Meritage from Napa Valley. We mentioned in the piece that Orin Swift is most famous for its Zinfandel-based “Prisoner” red blend, whose distinctive label (above) you may well have seen in your favorite wine shop. In the comments section, Jordan said the following: “we will be doing a Prisoner vertical tasting soon. Stay tuned.” Now, nearly two years later, “soon” has finally arrived. Sorry for the wait, folks… we’re pretty sure it’ll be worth it.

Please come join us on Friday evening as we taste through five consecutive vintages of the Orin Swift “Prisoner” blend: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. When new, these bottles typically cost around $32-$35, but the older vintages (especially the ’04 and ’05) are incredibly difficult to find. Your entry fee of $15 per person gets you access to the whole lineup.

In case you’re not sure what this “Prisoner” craze is all about, here’s some background info. The Prisoner is a Napa-grown proprietary blend of different grapes, always with Zinfandel as the base, along with some other yummy varietals. In 2008, for example, the blend was:

46% Zinfandel
26% Cabernet Sauvignon
15% Syrah
10% Petite Sirah
2% Charbono
1% Grenache

Beginning in 2003, the limited-production Prisoner began to receive major accolades. The 2005 vintage made #17 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list, and other vintages have gotten all kinds of love in various media outlets. To learn more about what to expect from each vintage, check out the following reviews: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008.

We’ll be holding our epic tasting at Jason’s classy pad in Brentwood. To RSVP, simply click “will attend” on the right side of this page. (We’ll be limiting this event to twelve Winos in order to make sure that we all get good pours.) I’ll e-mail you the day of the tasting with directions to Jason’s place. If you have to cancel for some reason, please change your response (or let me know) as soon as possible, so that someone may take your place.