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The Prisoner Wine Company The Prisoner (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2017

Other Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • WW92
15.2% ABV
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4.8 8 Ratings
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4.8 8 Ratings
15.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Prisoner was inspired by the “mixed blacks” first made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in Napa Valley. The Prisoner is now the most recognized Napa Valley red blend, leading the resurgence of interesting blends by incorporating Zinfandel with the unlikely mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Charbono.

The 2017 vintage features enticing aromas of Bing cherry, dark chocolate, clove, and roasted fig. Persistent flavors of ripe raspberry, boysenberry, pomegranate, and vanilla linger harmoniously, for a smooth and luscious finish.

The label is based on the Little Prisoner etching, by one of Spain’s most famous painters, Francisco de Goya, who lived from 1746-1828. It depicts the atrocities of war between France and Spain during the artist’s time.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 92
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: When Dave Phinney first launched The Prisoner Wine in 2000, the wine became an immediate marketplace star. A massive red wine, with an artsy label, this red wine was the subject of much controversy. Old time, classic wine drinkers eschewed its high alcohol and sweetness—though it was technically a "dry" wine. Younger New World wine drinkers couldn't get enough of it. From my perspective, I placed this wine in the off-dry to medium sweet style, and I consider it to be a dinner wine. The 2017 Prisoner Red delivers quite well. TASTING NOTES: This wine is powerful, mouthfilling, and lush. Its aromas and flavors of black, candied fruits and toasty barrels should make it beautiful pairing partner with grilled baby back pork ribs in a sweet-spice hoisin sauce. (Tasted: November 5, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
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The Prisoner Wine Company

The Prisoner Wine Company

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The Prisoner Wine Company, Napa Valley, California
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The Prisoner Wine Company’s eponymous first wine was inspired by the drinkable “mixed blacks” made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in Napa Valley. Since launch, The Prisoner soon became recognized as one of the most innovative Napa Valley wines, leading the resurgence of California red blends and earning “cult wine” status. Now complemented by a white blend (Blindfold), Chardonnay (The Snitch), Cabernet Sauvignon (Cuttings), Zinfandel (Saldo), Merlot (Thorn) and a Red Blend (Dérangé), The Prisoner Wine Company’s winemaking philosophy remains the same: To collaborate with a family of growers throughout California’s best winegrowing regions to craft wines of exceptional quality and unexpected character.

The Prisoner Wine Company acquires grapes from more than 100 vineyards throughout California’s premier grape-growing regions, partnering with phenomenal growers who are dedicated to cultivating unique varieties. Chrissy Wittmann and her team of winemakers collaborate with this family of growers, visiting each vineyard site throughout the year to carefully assess the style and quality of every lot to make the best possible wine from each vintage.

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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.

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Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS924056_2017 Item# 515197