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locations waDave Phinney’s Locations series is worth checking out.The winemaker behind the iconic Prisoner brand from Orin Swift Cellars, Phinney now does cross-appellation blending sourcing grapes from several, often widely dispersed vineyards, to make a wine that reflects the flavor profile of that larger region. This is a relatively new concept in some parts of the old world such as France or Italy. It’s exceedingly common in the U.S. He also does away with vintage dating; the number in the wine’s title (WA5) refers to the version of this wine which may include grapes from multiple vintages.  I’ve enjoyed several wines from this series. It is a successful concept especially from the production side allowing a great deal of flexibility.

This blend of Syrah, Merlot and Petite Sirah is full of flavor but has a distinctive, unusual evolution and mouthfeel.

Deep purple in the glass, aromas of blackberry, mocha, autumn leaves prevail acquiring anise notes on the palate. Very dense up front, the midpalate ramps up the acidity which really takes off as the finish launches. The acidity is impressive giving the wine an angular momentum as sharp as a sword cut through the dark, ripe flavors.

The wine hints at lushness with a soft, smooth underbelly but topped by that spine of acidity it gives an impression of ruggedness. The tannins feel refined and polished until the back end of the finish where they turn powdery but with some chalk-like resistance.

Atmospheric but brash and confrontational, the music pairing was a surprise. Music with too much tension boosted the effrontery. But Cannibal Resource by the Dirty Projectors with its soaring vocals and brittle guitar calmed the demons and reinforced the atmospherics, a wine euphoric but unsettling.

Technical Notes: Aged for 10 months in French and American oak.

Score: 88

Price: $19.99 (purchase here)

Alc: 15%

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