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Orin Swift Cellars Papillon (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • RP93
  • WS91
15.1% ABV
  • RP94
  • WS93
  • RP94
  • WS90
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • WS92
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15.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A vibrant crimson is present in the glass with a claret fringe on the rim. Luring aromas of currants, mulled blackberries, French vanilla, and exotic spices serve as an intriguing precursor to tasting. The opening is dense and powerful with extracted blue and red fruit flavors which leads to beguiling cassis, plum, and a hint of mocha later. The tannins are already so soft and suave which lends to early appeal and cellaring if one so chooses.

This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Proprietary Red Papillon is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Another big-time winner, it was sourced from multiple AVAs, including Oakville, St. Helena, Howell Mountain and Rutherford. Gorgeous aromas of white chocolate, blackberries, blackcurrants, blue fruits and toasty oak are followed by a full-bodied, layered wine that builds incrementally. The tannins are sweet and well-integrated, and the acidity is sufficient for definition. It is a savory, hedonistic as well as intellectually pleasing wine to enjoy over the next decade or more.
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Bold and ripe, with juicy plum, black cherry and wild berry flavors, presented in a supple, textured style. The tannins slowly build but never become intrusive, making this easy to drink despite the size. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2022.
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Orin Swift Cellars

Orin Swift Cellars

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Orin Swift Cellars, Napa Valley, California
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The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, so in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

GZT370576_2012 Item# 354981