Orin Swift Cellars Mannequin 2017
Orin Swift Cellars Mannequin is a wickedly cool Californian Chardonnay.
Pale gold colour. Opulent aromatics of Meyer lemon, vanilla crème and sweet oak are complemented by subtle notes of jasmine, gardenias and caramel. Full-bodied and dry with a buttery, creamy rich texture. The layered palate is replete with ripe stone fruit, melon, lemon curd and hints of roasted almond, grapefruit pith and white pepper. The finish is long and rich with a tapering young coconut flavour.
100% Chardonnay. The most widely planted grape in California, Chardonnay is definitively the Queen of Grapes. This vintage of Mannequin includes new quality vineyards from select AVAs. From the cool Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley to the mountains of Atlas Peak and south to the Santa Lucia Highlands, Orin Swift has once again managed to produce a balanced Chardonnay that is representative of the differing regions in California.
The Chardonnay grapes are left to hang until they turn golden-brown before they are carefully picked. Following this is barrel fermentation in a mix of new and seasoned French oak. Finally, the wine ages in 35% new French oak sur lie for 8 months.
About the Label
The creative (if slightly disturbing gothic and grunge) style to Orin swift labels encourage you to rethink wine through a different lens.
Contrary to their contemporary descendants, each of the vintage mannequins on the label exhibit a unique style and personality. Similarly, many of Orin Swift’s Chardonnay vineyards have their own set of unique characteristics. No two resulting lots ever smell or taste the same, but when blended together, they create something never seen before—much like the collection of mannequins on the bottle.
Phinney is often asked what came first, the label or the wine. In the case of Mannequin, a song came first.
Driving around with the radio blaring, Roman’s Revenge by Nicki Minaj came on the radio and Phinney was struck by the line: ‘You at a stand still, mannequin’.
“It got me thinking about mannequins and their purpose to serve as stylised representations of the human form to showcase clothes. Clothing, much like wine, evolves over time to reflect trends, nature and creative whims, yet the mannequins always remain static,” he says.
The sinister photo of amputated shop dummies was shot by LA-based photographer Greg Gorman, who used his Hollywood contacts to source dozens of old mannequins bound for the scrapheap, most of which were missing their arms.
As is often the way with the creative process, Gorman took scores of photos but neither he nor Phinney were happy with the result until the mannequins were tossed to one side after the shoot and everything fell into place, on shot 540.
What other expressions of Chardonnay have we got for you?
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
Aged on the lees for eight months in 35% new French oak, the 2017 Chardonnay Mannequin opens with baked peaches, poached pears and brioche notes with hints of lemon curd, butterscotch and toasted almonds. Full-bodied, rich and decadently fruited with a pleasantly oily texture, it has seamless freshness and a very long, toasty finish.
WILFRED WONG OF – 90 POINTS
The 2017 Orin Swift Cellars Mannequin is a New World Chardonnay from start to finish. TASTING NOTES: This wine shows up with a power-rush of ripe fruit and sandalwood. Pair it with grilled, bone-in chicken thighs. (Tasted: October 12, 2020, San Francisco, CA)