I was on a "Man Date" with a wine buddy of mine the other night. He had decided to bring a very exclusive wine from his membership in the Orin Swift Equinox Wine Club. It dawned on me that I should bring another of Orin Swift's higher end wines, so I took a look at my cellar and found the perfect bottle. His flagship Cabernet, Mercury Head from 2009.
For a little background, I have always loved wines from Orin Swift going all the way back to when he produced the first bottle of "The Prisoner." A label he sold many years ago. Since then it has been almost up hill every step of the way. I say almost as there have been one or two wines I wasn't crazy about, but were still great wines in their own right.
So anyway, we settle down to an evening of "manly discussions" (and if you know what that means, you know more than I do) and comparing some awesome wines. I have loved Mercury Head for years. I don't think I've missed many vintages. It's a wine of great character along with a huge mouth feel and complexity. This vintage was no exception. It could have actually spent another 5 or so years in bottle to really fully bloom. Of course, drinking it over a three hour period did pretty much the same thing and was truly gorgeous nearer the end.
So much for dinner and my man date. The next morning, I was jotting some notes into my tracking program for my wines and it hit me that a few days, maybe weeks, ago I remembered that Dave Phinney (he's the winemaker and founder behind Orin Swift) just sold his winery to Gallo. I think I may have had a mini panic attack at that moment as I couldn't remember if this was a sale in name only or if he had sold the winery lock stock and barrel. You millennials may have to look that one up, it goes WAY back! I didn't want one of my all time favorite wines to change, I liked what I had been drinking for all those years. More often than not, sales of wineries is not a good thing. It usually means someone goes out and increases production and consequently prices as well and occasionally, a decrease in quality.
So anyway, I jump on my trusty tablet and look up the news announcement on the sale. I patiently read word for word and when I'm done, my panic attack has subsided. Gallo bought everything, with the exception of his Locations Wines and D66. He is also staying on as winemaker for the Orin Swift brand. Whew, that was a close one. I don't have to run out and buy all I can, or find as I'm sure this sale will help in the ability to produce more of his wines, I also feel comfortable that the quality will continue.
Like a lot of my posts, you're probably wondering, where am I going with this. Let me tell you....
Like the title says, do we tend to become a prisoner of the wines we drink? Or do we search out new labels, the next cult wine or the next great winemaker? That's what I thought I was doing. Right up until I had my panic attack. It was then that I realized that even I have my "favorite" wine. That one that I just can't do without.
So next time you're at the wine shop, ask yourself "Am I a "Prisoner" to my wine?"