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Orin Swift Cellars 8 Years In The Desert 2019


Orin Swift Cellars 8 Years In The Desert 2019


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A Lion in a bottle.

>90 pts Quite dry Blend Slight Wood California Medium Tannin Coffee Black Berry Jammy Mineraly- Earthy Medium Acidity Full Body Red


Orin Swift Cellars 8 Years In The Desert 2019

Solemn, somber and super cool, this is a wine with a story. Orin Swift Cellars 8 Years In The Desert is David Phinney’s first Zinfandel blend after an 8 year hiatus.

Dark garnet colour with a lucid rim. Opens with aromas of briar fruit, ripe blackberry and dark plum with a tinge of minerality and charred meat. Brawny on the entry, it has an equally big mid-palate with complex flavours of ripe brambly fruit, a touch of earth and notes of espresso bean. Still massive through to the finish with soft drying tannins, the unique varietal characteristics of the blend clearly reveal themselves over time.

A blend of 56% Zinfandel, 34% Petite Syrah and 10% Syrah. Ageing for 8 months in a combination of French and American oak.

Top Tip: Decant an hour before serving.

The Story Behind 8 Years In the Desert

Once upon a time, David Phinney created one of the most iconic wines to ever come out of California, The Prisoner. From its creation, The Prisoner gradually grew from being a rare cult wine to the country’s most famous Zinfandel blend. In fact, it became one of the most commercially successful wines of all time. Not only did the Prisoner redefine a style of wine, the bottle and the packaging redefined wine as style. Ultimately, the project became so successful David sold the brand so that he could return to what he loved most, creating something new. Upon selling The Prisoner, David was on an agreement that he couldn’t make another Zinfandel blend for another 8 years. 8 Years In The Desert is David’s first Zinfandel blend following his 8 year hiatus. The wine is a powerhouse blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah. He’s back, and he’s better than ever.

About the Label

The creative style of Orin Swift labels encourage you to rethink wine through a different lens. Each label is an evocative expression of art that leaves a heart-skipping impression.

8 Years In The Desert features 8 different labels in the series. Why are there 8 different labels? David Phinney found that there was no way to fit all those 8 years of thought, process and sleepless nights into one label. The commonality between all the labels is that they start with a photo with a Joshua tree somewhere on it. They then add some component of film or slide, even cheese cloth, to create a layering effect. All of the labels are slightly different or dramatically different, depending on who you ask. Since each label is unique, it gives people something to look forward to every year.

Check out the other gorgeous Californian Reds we’ve got.



Composed o Zinfandel with Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache, the 2018 Red Blend 8 Years in the Desert was aged for eight months in American oak barrels (37% new). Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes roaring out of the glass with notions of baked black cherries, raspberry preserves, blueberry tart and potpourri plus hints of garrigue, tobacco leaf and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, the richly fruited palate has a pleasantly chewy texture and loads of savory layers coming through on the finish.


The Orin Swift Cellars Eight Years in the Desert is David Swift Phinney’s testament to the wine world. He took his first two tons of Zinfandel in 1998 to a brand of significance. The 2018 vintage is massive, yet stylish and restrained. TASTING NOTES: This is a mouthful of wine that explodes onto the palate with the strength of a complex medley of berries. Pair it with slow-grilled baby back ribs. (Tasted: September 19, 2019, San Francisco, CA)

Ripe and plump, offering bold flavors of huckleberry, licorice and smoked pepper that finish with succulent tannins.

Additional information

Award Winner

>90 pts


Quite dry

Grape Type



Slight Wood




Medium Tannin

Taste Note

Coffee, Black Berry Jammy, Mineraly- Earthy

Wine Acidity

Medium Acidity

Wine Body

Full Body

Wine Type



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