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The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner 2012

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4.3 27 Ratings
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4.3 27 Ratings

Winemaker Notes

The wine has a deep ruby red hue that is framed in rich crimson. Aromas of black cherry and plum, surrounded by roasted coffee beans and vanillin oak accents. The entry is powerful and lush with flavors of bing cherry, blueberry and cocoa. Soft and velvety tannins round out the finish making this wine approachable and inviting.

"The 2012 vintage was truly a great vintage. Mother Nature was kind to us and we are really happy about the quality of the fruit. It was a slow and cool growing season that allowed for great hang time and optimal ripeness. We really had fun tasting and blending this wine because we had so many great lots to work with."
Jen Beloz, Winemaker

Blend: 46% Zinfandel, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petite Sirah12% Syrah & 2% Charbon

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
The Wine Advocate

There are 20,000 cases of the 2012 The Prisoner, which is an interesting blend of 46% Zinfandel, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon,18% Petite Sirah, 12% Syrah, and a small amount of Charbono. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a big, peppery, meaty, Rhone-like bouquet with hints of bay leaf, unsmoked cigar tobacco, black currants and sweet jammy cherries. Medium to full-bodied and explosively fruity, this is a lovely, hedonistic, seriously endowed red to drink over the next 3-4 years.

WS 90
Wine Spectator

Ripe, jammy and sweet, this is loaded with toasty oak. Subtle this is not, loaded with flavor, offering notes of black cherry, chocolate, licorice and cinnamon spice. Should appeal to fans of the style. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Charbono.

JS 90
James Suckling

A juicy and ripe red with dried berry and currant. Hints of raisins too. Full body, soft and round tannins and a fresh finish. A blend of zinfandel and cabernet. Big wine. Drink now.

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The Prisoner Wine Company

The Prisoner Wine Company

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The Prisoner Wine Company, , California
The Prisoner Wine Company
The Prisoner Founder and Winemaker Dave Phinney’s deep respect for the vineyards is rooted in an early attempt to make a sophisticated wine from a difficult site. Although he was frustrated by a situation that had him using every tool at his disposal and still coming up short, he learned lessons that inform his vineyard selection process now.

"I came away from that experience with the unshakable belief that if you put your emphasis on the vineyard, what follows is much easier," he says. "The vineyard is everything."

Most of Phinney’s time is spent exploring vineyard sites, meeting with growers and selecting the fruit that will be vinified and blended into The Prisoner. His method for vineyard selection includes assessing the site, soil, varietal, grower and provenance, or the history, of the vineyard.

"Sometimes one of these aspects is enough, other times it's a combination of a few of these elements," he says. "With provenance, looks can be deceiving, so you have to trust in the track record of a vineyard as opposed to what you see. Occasionally you step into a vineyard and can't get to your phone fast enough to call the grower and lock up the grapes. Those experiences are one of a kind."

Santa Cruz Mountains

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A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay to just above Monterey county. Elevation ranges from just 800 feet to upwards of 3000, and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lay. Cool ocean winds and fog play an important role as well. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, and Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for their distinct minerality and balanced acidity. Often these wines can be aged for many years. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

PIOCAHN_RBP12_2012 Item# 120629

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