Orin Swift Cellars Mercury Head 2017
Mercury Head hails from Phinney’s best lots in the Napa Valley. Orin Swift Cellars Mercury Head is their flagship wine, their true representation of the best Cabernet from the Napa Valley.
Deep garnet-purple colour. A familiar nose of pedigree, the wine opens with aromatics of ripe raspberry, blackcurrant, cigar box and a hint of fresh sandalwood shavings and Herbs de Provence. The bouquet is mysteriously intriguing at first, but evolves into a thoroughbred with time and air. Dense and layered on the palate. An immediate note of mixed berry strudel topped with fresh cream, fresh black raspberry and soft tannins akin to baking chocolate transition to a finish of both nuance and concentration.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon. A small amount comes from the historic Monte Rosso Vineyard up in the hills above the Sonoma Valley. The rest of the grapes come from Phinney’s best lots in the Napa Valley to create the wine’s backbone. These come from plots in the Morisoli vineyard in Rutherford, the Milat vineyard in St. Helena and a few of the blocks from the Stagecoach vineyard on Atlas Peak.
Ageing for 15 months in French oak.
Still young, the wine will continue to evolve gracefully while retaining its luscious quality and classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon nature.
Top Tip: Decant an hour before serving.
About the Label
The creative (if slightly disturbing gothic and grunge) 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.
Phinney’s simplest bottle design is used for his most expensive wine: Mercury Head. The inspiration for the botte’s design came when Phinney chanced upon a Liberty dime in a handful of small change.
“It reminded me of how much I enjoyed collecting coins as a kid. The Liberty dime, affectionately known as ‘Mercury head’, was always my favourite,” says Phinney. The coins haven’t been in production since 1945, but that didn’t deter him from his idea of sticking a Liberty dime to the front of every bottle of Mercury Head.
“It took a little effort at first to find the dimes from dealers and coin collectors, but we have a good supply now. People even send us the coins from their empty bottles to use,” says Phinney.
Check out the other gorgeous Californian Reds we’ve got.
AWARDS & ACCOLADES
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head (aged for 15 months in oak, 51% new) delivers classic notes of warm cassis, plum preserves and mulberries with hints of cigar box, dried bay leaves, pencil lead and truffles. The full-bodied, densely packed, full-throttle palate has a solid structure of firm tannins and oodles for freshness supporting the muscular black fruits, finishing long and savory.
Alluring, featuring blackberry, blueberry and açaí berry aromas and flavors, laced with graphite and violet notes and backed by a hint of lavender. Very expressive, showing lovely range, as well as the stuffing and structure to cellar. Approachable, but a little time is warranted. Best from 2021 through 2030.