Who the heck is Orin Swift??

So who the heck is Orin Swift? We found out on a cold February Saturday night, at the first of our SH beverage pairing dinners. In our private dining room, The Captian’s Table was filled with guests all waiting to know more. Hosted by Brittany Palmateer and Molly Schuster of Empire Merchants North, the evening was as much informative as it was delicious.

The hosts explained to diners that Orin Swift the man simply just does not exist. But the man who does exist and who subsequently is the entire reason for this beverage pairing is winemaker and Orin Swift wines owner and creator David Phinney.

Phinney decided to take a field worker position for Robert Mondavi to immerse himself in the world of wine. He studied each and every area of wine production that he could. Taking what he learned, he then applied it and produced “The Prisoner”. It was a huge success. He later sold the brand to Constellation and was asked to sign a contract for 8 years stating that he would NOT produce any Zinfandel based wines. Following the 8 year non compete clause, he released his first Zinfandel based red blend, appropriately named… wait for it… 8 Years in The Desert. The first vintage was shipped in individual wooden boxes with a personal note from Phinney.

From there on, Orin Swift wines has made leaps and bounds. The portfolio is filled with wines whose flavors only rival their names and labels in mystery and shock value.

The story behind the name Orin Swift, well thats a little simpler, the name is derived from Phinneys mothers maiden name and Phinneys fathers middle name.

So from the collection we chose 5 wines to taste and pair with some of Chef Bobs best culinary works.

He’s a course by course run down.

#1- Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc paired with sweet potato, buhlgar, nasturtium, citrus, tarragon aioli.

#1- Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc paired with sweet potato, buhlgar, nasturtium, citrus, tarragon aioli.

Orin Swift Deck blank stare.jpg
#2- Mannequin Chardonnay paired with Scallop, Maitake and leeks, buttermilk foam.

#2- Mannequin Chardonnay paired with Scallop, Maitake and leeks, buttermilk foam.

Orin Swift Deck 2 manneyyy.jpg
#3- Slander Pinot Noir paired with Cauliflower en brioche, cured duck breast, honey cranberries in Pinot.

#3- Slander Pinot Noir paired with Cauliflower en brioche, cured duck breast, honey cranberries in Pinot.

Orin Swift Deck 2 slander final.jpg
#4- Abstract (Grenache, petite Syrah, Syrah) paired with roast shoulder of lamb, red chard, pickle chard stem, potato croquettes, jus.

#4- Abstract (Grenache, petite Syrah, Syrah) paired with roast shoulder of lamb, red chard, pickle chard stem, potato croquettes, jus.

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#5- Machete (petite syrah, Syrah, Grenache) paired with chocolate gateau, black pepper sour cream, candied beet chips, beet syrup. Chef Bob made a statement with the desert choice. The evening closed with a glass of Machete and a massacre replica dish that was as visually intense as the flavors it combined.

#5- Machete (petite syrah, Syrah, Grenache) paired with chocolate gateau, black pepper sour cream, candied beet chips, beet syrup. Chef Bob made a statement with the desert choice. The evening closed with a glass of Machete and a massacre replica dish that was as visually intense as the flavors it combined.

Orin Swift Deck 2 machete info.jpg
Orin Swift Deck 2 machete pics.jpg

At the end of the dinner our guests had gained knowledge of up and coming wines from a growing name in the world of vino, and a chance to indulge in culinary delights rivaling dishes from some of NYC’s best restaurants.

So who the heck is Orin Swift? He’s more of a “what” than a “who” and the newest name in my wine rack.

Having a dinner party? small event? intimate gathering? Check out the availability of The Captains Table.

Having a dinner party? small event? intimate gathering? Check out the availability of The Captains Table.

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We raise a glass and say a big thanks to Brittany, Molly, Empire Merchants North, our dinner guests, and staff for an incredible evening.

We raise a glass and say a big thanks to Brittany, Molly, Empire Merchants North, our dinner guests, and staff for an incredible evening.

Katie TetroComment