The Orin Swift story starts in 1995 when, on a whim, David Swift Phinney understandably took a friend up on an offer to spend a term ‘studying’ in Florence.During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked.After graduating in 1997 he took a temporary harvest job at the iconic Robert Mondavi winery.Harvest is not an easy job and David quickly decided that if he was going to work this hard it should eventually be for himself and in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars with two tons of zinfandel, a disruptive approach to labels and marketing and not much else.Today Orin Swift is owned by California icons E&J Gallo, but David remains at the helm, disregarding the traditions of terroir and site-specific bottlings in favour of simply procuring the best grapes to make the most drinkable blends and putting them in bottles that really stand out.
American Chardonnay has come a long way from the dark days of the early 90s, when widespread over-use of oak flavouring there and in Australia lead to gallons of flabby, chewy wine that poorly reflected this greatest of white varietals. However winemakers and fans have never stepped away from Chardonnay, understanding it’s almost unmatched ability to produce outstanding wines that speak clearly of where they were grown and how they were made.
Great Chardonnay is made in probably every winemaking region in the US, here we highlight some of the gems from our collection. From the bright acidity and European style of Melville Estate in Santa Rita Hills to the textural Alexana from Oregon to the rich, yet elegant Donelan wines from Sonoma, there is something here to charm even the most fervent ABCer.