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2002 The Prisoner, Red Table Wine, Orin Swift Cellars, Napa

I have a thing for funky wine labels, and I enjoy various winemakers attempts to break out of the boring "year" "winery" "varietal" naming scheme and liven things up a bit with more unique names for their wines. That's why I was interested when I received The Prisoner in my monthly wine club shipment. It's got a lovely oil painting on the front that's evocative of some of Goya's work. The wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Charbono, and Petite Sirah

Tasting Notes:
The wine pours a deep purple-red with a wonderfully fragrant nose of raisins and dried currants. It has lovely flavors of blackberry, juicy black currants, and a touch of blueberry. You can definitely taste the zin and the petite syrah in this wine as deep, dark fruit flavors, and there's a musky spiciness that's brought in by the Charbono. Overall, the flavor of the wine, as well as its finish, was skewed a little towards the sweet side, but not in a way that was ultimately satisfying.

Food Pairing:
Lamb brochettes with red peppers, or barbecued spare-ribs, either followed by chocolate cake.

Overall Score: 7.5

How Much?: $25

This wine is available at K&L in San Francisco as well as online through Porthos.

Comments (5)

T J Miller wrote:
03.02.04 at 2:49 PM

You forgot one thing about the wine and probably the best aspect of zins, generally, but brought to a climatic finish that I've yet to see so pronounced except in this wine. I agree with the fruit flavors that you have pointed out but I find it had a deep dry dark chocolate flavor that had a hint of sweetness. The wine was further enhanced, and vice versa, by t-bone steaks marinated in Ky. Boubon/Dark Rum mix and then grilled. To me it was the dark chocolate finish that set it apart from other wines, by the way it was paired perfectly with the steak.

hb herr wrote:
12.27.04 at 6:13 AM

If have finally found an East Coast source for The Prisoner - a few overpriced bottles downtown - half a case that I was able to lay my hands on for Thanksgiving - finally - able to get a full case - Xmas present - the operative word in describing the wine is freshness - lots of fruit - partcularly in contrast to what can best be called a controlled pour - i.e. - host picks the order and pour some of each offering for each guest/taster - pinot - pinot - zin - zin - The Prisoner - cab - cab - etc - new house fav - by the by - have you sampled the field blends from Acorn - they are next on our list -

Alder wrote:
12.27.04 at 8:46 AM

Glad you managed to find a source! I'll give the 03 a try and see if I like it any better.

I'm a huge fan of Acorn's wines.

elizabeth samudio wrote:
12.27.05 at 4:42 PM

i have a 2004 bottle so how long should i store it?
will it get better in time?

Alder wrote:
01.01.06 at 6:43 PM


This wine, in my opinion, will last for some time (5 to 10) and be very drinkable throughout. However, in about 2 years it will lose the bright lush fruit flavors and will begin to move towards something earthier. If that's what you like, or if you’re interested in seeing what happens to it, then by all means, keep it in the cellar. However, if like most people you are attracted to the full fruit that the wine provides, I suggest drinking it in the next 24 months.

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