I have rated all of my bottles of this wine from 90 to 92......including this one. That puts me a little out of sync with the average recent reviewers. Perhaps I have more of a fondness for this style of wine that is the case with others. However, I sensed a note of real maturity in this bottle. Hence, I have put my last bottle in my drink now rack.
A little harsh upon opening but mellowed considerably after a short decant. 15.2% alc and you can get a hint of it throughout each sip. Not a big Zinfandel fan in general so I may be a little biased against it overall from that perspective. I liked it....it was good but nothing to rush out and buy. I would recommend something else especially at this price point to others looking for a good high quality zin. Still have three left so hopeful the others might be a little more in sync upon opening.
A bit sweet on the nose with some hints of cedar and even some savory overtones. Front is rich but not particularly balanced. There is decent acid but its such a big wine that balance is elusive. Mid-palate calms down a bit and the acid begins to assert on the finish but this is a metal concert on your palate not a symphony. If this wine were a beer it would be an Imperial, "more" of everything for better and/or worse. I don't dislike this wine but it kind of tires the palate out early.
An evening with friends and a lot of wine (Chris and Renee's Home): I can see why this wine is so popular with a segment of people. I liked this wine. It certainly is not shy nor does it strive to be something its not. Purple in color. The nose has black raspberries, vanilla and some charred wood. Lush texture. Sweet black raspberries. Medium tannins. This is fun, lush, in your face and quite delicious. Just short of dessert. A little goes a long way but that is fine.
This wine was deep, purple, but the brown hue found in the 2008 was absent. Immediately, the nose burst of red and black fruits, virtually no other aromas besides a hint of alcohol. The mouth-feel was jammy, dry tannins on the finish -- again almost 100% red and black fruits compare to the 2008. After almost 3 hours of decanting, vanilla and oak came through the nose and on the finish -- the fruit bomb definitely mellowed. Moderate acidity, alcohol, and tannins -- almost entirely on the back end -- a chalkiness. Very drinkable, but agree with fellow tasters that this is fading. Paired with braised short rib and veal cannelloni -- a must for Italian dishes. Rating this a 91 vs the 90 I gave the 2008 because of the transformation it made upon decanting.
Decanted 2 hours Aromas of wild berry, dark cherry, sweet cassis, vanilla bean pods and underlying bramble, pepper and herbs scents. On the palate jammy but brightened by the moderate plus acidity. Flavors of ripe cherry, wildberry, plum and cassis weave in with flavors of baking spices of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. A rustic edge towards the mid palate with notes of herbs, pepper and bramble. The finish is long with moderate-plus intensity. Overall not as jammy as other vintages.
Wish Orin still made this wine. So delicious with a great Italian/Mediterranean meal. Super fruit, gentle tannins, upfront taste. No mystery, just goodness, The wine looks crimson colored. The legs are slow. There is light sediment in the bottle. It smells like cherry and plum.
Might be better than a 92 rating. First bottle of this case I have had in a while. It has evolved. More elegant than before, but still has that hint of decadence usually present in The Prisoner. Earlier bottles were very good, but tended to the fruit bomb end of the scale.
Drank with friends-they loved it. Significant fruit on the nose and palate, so be ready for it. Smoothed out tannins that do not linger. Not as much spice as a traditional zin because of the blending. Alcohol content is high, but you don't sense it.
Nose of bramble fruits & leather. Notes of blackberry, black cherry, cedar, and spice. Not the best Prisoner, but rocking it okay. Alcohol a bit sharp at 15.2%. I'm not getting the pepper some are mentioning.
NC Cindy Tasting, June 2013 (Phredd's Humble Abode): Lighter than most tonight, with a bright cherry look to it. The difference is not surprising, as this is not a Cabernet-based blend. Instead, it is 51% Zinfandel, 19% Cab sauv, 18% Syrah, 7% Petit syrah, 3% Charboneau, 1% Grenache, and 1% Malbec. On the nose, this comes across as candied eucalyptus. There is fruit, but it is undefinable, like a cross between tropical fruits, berries, and red licorice. The palate is more on the plum end of things, with some good clove and nutmeg, and just enough acidity to hold things together. The prominent pluminess leads me to check the blend again, but there is no Merlot here at all. This is quite a bit on the hot side, which takes away from the finish. Overall, this is decent wine, but probably not a buy for me at the $33+ average CT price. I would give it an 89.
(Edit: This wine does much better on Day 3, losing most of the heat, and emphasizing more raspberry and spice. The fruit is still very lively. Surprisingly to me, I'd give this a 90-91 after it has been thoroughly aired out, and would reconsider that buy decision. Be sure to decant this wine. The listed score is a composite of the taste over time.)
This wine is evolving quite nicely. Good, dark garnet color. Solid dark fruit and leather nose. The wine is well balanced with dark fruit flavors that over time brought in elements of carmel. Had 3 wines with our meal finishing with Prisoner while endulging in a yummy chocolate cake. Great pairing and most memorable wine of the night!
This was a reasonably tasty wine although the blend masks the zin making it a somewhat generic wine which I guess it is supposed to be given it is not marketed as a zin but rather a blend. Price-wise this is not a good value. It is amazing how much publicity this wine receives considering its mediocrity. I can only attribute that to how few good zins are tasted by the general public.
I have tasted one bottle of this same wine in Feb 2012 and found it too young and fruity. This bottle today remember me of the vintage 2006. Dark, nice and complex aroma of berries. During the taste it invokes chocolate, it is round and balanced tannins. It is impressive how much this wine has evolved in the last 9 months. Tonight I give a very solid 92. It Paired well with creamy cheese, camenbert amd with medium taste cheese like machego and many others. Cheers !
I dont get this wine. I've heard others rave about it. This is the second time I've tried it. Dark fruit with raisin and fig, with some sourness and vegetal character and not in a good way. Finish also has some bland inexpensive wine tastes. After 3 hours a little better but not much.
This is really drinking real nice now,, I think that Prisoner, given a couple years, is worth the wait, although I have had no issues with drinking it ongoing. Still love Orin Swift wines,, never get tired of any of them.
Always enjoyable and consistent. Decanted and hour before serving with tri tip kabobs marinated in Yoshidas Terriaki Sauce and added Siracha for kick. Down to my last bottle of 09 with 10 hiding out in the shadows.
Drank over 2 nights. Clear dark dark ruby in colour. Clean nose of black fruit. Dry, med acidity, med body, med+ tannins, Black berry, vanilla, tar, and smoke on palate. okay finish. I think this wine needed to sit for a little longer. Not my favourite prisoner to date.
This is just an easy wine to like. If I didn't know better I would think this was a Paso Robles blend but it comes from Napa. The layers of flavors is just very seductive and well balanced. Decanted for an hour and all of the fruit layers come forward.It's not as concentrated as my Thacher GSM from Paso. It is more of a stylistic wine similar to Tablas Creek Esprit De Beaucastel. Very well made and very enjoyable.
compared to the 2008, this wine lacked integration. There were tones of candied fruit, slightly bitter herbs, chocolate, and plum. While certainly a rich and enjoyable wine, I felt like this was not as seemless as the prior year's wine.
Popped and poured. As I would expect, a powerful nose of ripe, dark fruit but surprsingly little indication of the 15+% alcohol; this must be in a better place these days. Loads of extracted fruit smash my palate but that's to be expected from this producer. It's a fun wine that's very easy to approach at this point in its evolution.
Listed at 15.2% ABV, I served this at cellar temperature and experienced no heat on the nose or in the mouth. A clear, deep garnet with a bluish-purple rim, the wine is dry with a full body, medium-plus acidity, and a medium tannins. The nose has medium-plus intensity and runs the gamut of blue, red, and dark fruits with spice box and forest floor. The tannins are smooth and carry blackberry liqueur, baking spice, red and dark cherries, and a dash of lime zest flavors. The finish is long and this vintage is, again, a very good wine. In fact, I think the balance to 2009 is better than the previous two vintages. I'll be curious to taste the 2010.
Decanted through vinturi into decanter and consumed right away and over the next 2 hours. It just got to be tiring with its hyper extracted blackberry liquor syrupy style. The heat has calmed down but this is not really my style anymore.
Friday Wine and Game Night (The House - Woodley Park): First off, this wine is what it is. If you hate it, you hate it. But it's pretty obvious what you're going to get with this wine. Bright purple color in the glass, not black, with thick legs. The nose is warm and full, showing chocolate-covered cherries and cherry pie. Very hedonistic. The palate is full of jammy cherry and raspberry fruit, along with chocolate-covered cherries, raisinettes and plum. Low acid, but the heat seems far less of an issue than previous vintages of this wine. If you like jam-bombs, this is the wine for you, but I also love the silkiness of this wine. Smooth, rich finish. Everyone enjoyed this wine, but we saved it for after dinner, as I'm not sure how to pair this wine except with dessert.
Poured through Vinturi and decanted approx. 30 min. ... This vintage of the Prisoner, long one of our go-to wines, has improved quite a bit in the last year. Richer and more lush, with fruit and soft, smooth tannins. This is still fruit forward but seems more complex with less (no) heat, despite the high ABV.
Not the best Prisoner vintage I've sampled, but still very respectable and enjoyable and it's definitely improved with a bit of bottle age.
This actually isn't half bad. Not what I remember the 07 being and perhaps not worth >$30 but a nice wine especially if fruit and jam are up your alley. The nose is very dark, with blackberry, raspberry, pepper and a bit of smoke. The flavors are full and jammy, again with dark red fruits and a peppery bite. Showing moderate tannins and acidity on the finish.
I had a hard time rating this. I like the wine but I know it has it's flaws. It is a big red blend, lot's of fruit on the nose and palate and yes, it's a bit hot (but not too much). It's not complex or sophisticated, but it is a guilty pleasure and I like it!
If the prisoner were the bounty that flowed over a majetic waterfall and you endeavored to sample its offerings from the mist...there wold still be too much alchohol in it. Pissed that coincidence dictates that i have multiple bottles in my cellar.
Upon opening intensely aromatic, but the alcohol is so overpowering as to be undrinkable. After an hour of decanting the wine mellowed and was smooth. The aroma was still pungent - fruit (blackberry, dried fruit), leather, and spice. Flavorfull, but not as smooth as desired.
Upon opening intensely aromatic, but the alcohol is so overpowering as to be undrinkable. After an hour of decanting the wine mellowed and was smooth. The aroma was still pungent - fruit (blackberry, dried fruit), leather, and spice. Flavorful, but not as smooth as desired. Perhaps this would pair better with food.
nose: soft dark berries taste: bright fruit beginning, jammy, raisins, dark fruits with some dried characteristics, drawn out finish that lightens up with some plum flavors, medium to full bodied, heat other: 48% zinfandel, 23% cabernet sauvignon, 18% syrah, 7% petite sirah, 3% charbono, 1% grenache
This is the second bottle of the 09 Prisoner I have tasted. I agree that this is a step down from the 07 and 08 vintages, which I really loved. I would drink within the next year - it will not age any better.
I had this served at a wedding reception in a plastic cup, which may not be the best vessel but still have me a good impression of the wine. This is the third vintage I've had and was the least impressive. There was nothing wrong with the wine- nice juicy dark fruit and a full midpalate. But the finish was short, there was little tannic structure, and I've had bottles costing less than half what this does that were far better. I'll pop one of mine soon because it's ready to drink now and I don't see much aging potential.
Superb bottle, with some strawberry and raspberry on the nose & palate, along with toasty oak and vanilla. It's velvety-smooth, well-integrated, has excellent length, and it's perfect by itself or with most meals (maybe not something too overpowering and spicy). Friends introduced & treated us to this one, and we'll be sure to do the same for some friends in the future. Hard not to really like this one.
Crown Wine Tasting (Pinecrest, Miami, FL): Crown Wine store tasting. Tasted new bottle just opened. Big punch of dark fruit, earth, oak. On the palate, big flavors and well integrated. After an hour tasted again; much softer, well integrated and balanced. One of our favorites with BBQ or spicy dishes. Elena enjoyed best when first opened.
Big, bold, with sweet undertone. 50% Zinfandel, 20% Cabernet and 20% Syrah create the ying and yang of spicy but deep flavors. Very nice. Give it an hour of air to open. Enjoyed with Indian food and held up very well. (Doris 90)
Great chocolate on the nose and palate with rich dark fruit in a nice big package. At this point in its life it a little hot and a little one dimensional. I will put the res to sleep to see if they improve.
Deep garnet color, bouquet of blackberries and coffee. This wine is very fruit forward with some zin spice, but the heat from the high alcohol makes you forget much of what you just tasted. Medium finish - recommend decanting this for an hour or so to let this open up.
Loads of fruit up front, this is a commercial wine that doesn't need bottle age in the least. Drink immediately as a bar drink, this is not something to put with food. For the wine drinker that doesn't really dig wine.
Deep red in color. very little in the way of a nose at all. fruit, fruit, fruit. did i mention structure? no, i did not, as there appears to be none. juicy, jammy red fruit built on a backbone of nothing. not bad, but much better out there, especially at this price.
GIVE IT TIME. I have owned this for a year and have not tried it as most say its TOO YOUNG. Heed the advice. Drink something else. Be patient. As someone who is not patient about most things, with wine its recommended.
Okay. Reminded me of the recent Bota Box Old Vine Zin (praised by WE for bang for buck). Big fruit bomb, low acid, low tannin, red and dark fruits, even some blueberry at times. I think I'll try a tasteoff against the 2008 (perhaps against the Bota Box too). Will report on outcome.
Opened 4 hours before dinner. I shouldn't like this wine: overly oaked, extracted vs concentrated, fruit picked too late, too alcoholic. Somehow Phinney makes this work for me where I feel most others fail. I'll set the other bottles aside for at least a year, probably two. No score for now, too young.
This is a great comfort wine. I expect it will appeal to those new to wine, along with those that have spent years immersed in the subject. With a unusual blending of Zin, Cab, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Grenache and Charbono, this is the type of irreverent wine that will build a following.
Fruity with some dry grass on the nose after a 45 minute decant. Hot and sweet on the palate. No secondary flavors came through for me. Finished was medium and harmed by a residual bitterness on the tongue. Probably more time would have helped it.
I really enjoyed this but you have to know what youre getting into beforehand. there is no question this is very fruity, i drank this alone because it would overpower any meal, i used it as a dessert wine.
Lots and lots of fruit, a little too much for me but a nice wine. Jammy and sort of sweet but I still tated some spice. My daughter loved it. I can drink and enjoy but probably would not buy it again. Still, I believe many will love it. It was the first Prisoner I had.
Fruit, fruit, jammy fruit. Drank over two days, the second day paired beautifully with an almond butter and raspberry jam sandwich. The big, predominant red fruits are matched by very soft tannins and offset with some heat from the alcohol. Finish is moderate. Seems like a distinct departure in style from prior vintages; will be interesting to see what the future holds.
I usually love The Prisoner, and the 2008 and 2007 vintages were to-die-for. After my third tasting, the 2009 remains hugely disappointing. Overripe, almost sweet. The reviewer that said this is like Welch's jelly was unfortunately quite correct. Too much booze, too. Did someone drop a shot of vodka in my glass of wine? I hate to think this wine has jumped the shark.
This is not a wine for everyone. Upon first opening and immediate tasting first impressions are Welches Concord Grape...not the juice but the jelly!. This stuff is glass coating...you almost think you should be drinking this "grape shake" through a straw. With a little time, the wine screams Petite Syrah although most of it is zinfindel. This is a meal unless you drink it with a big steak....make that two steaks. I appreciate it for what it is but, with that said, I am glad I have only one bottle left. I like big wines but this is over the top for my style. It is what it is.... and must be rated as such.
N: raspberry, leathery, shallow nose; P: raspberry, dark chocolate, reasonably nice, big, full palate at the front; but fades to hot, poorly structured tannins that just taste cheap; disappointing finish; might have guessed this was a decent but unexciting $10 bottle of Australian Shiraz
A big, lush wine that overpowered even a steak but it's still tasty and balanced with deep red fruit flavors and smooth tannins. I can taste the syrah in here and there are some notes of black pepper and spices. Not exactly a wine of "place" but still delicious and very drinkable now.
I have to agree with comments made by BradboBaggins, lacks structure and can't support the sweet jammy overbaring fruit. Some vanilla and cinnamon but no spice or complexity. Just fruit w/o the bomb. Seek out other wines at this price point.
Drunk at Trulucks in Dallas with seafood. Very fruity, and juice-like. Fruit masked the extremely high alcohol content, and provided a smooth, pleasant, non-complex, yet tasty experience. Pleasant wine, but certainly not a wine that should be cellared and/or lauded for its great diversity of taste. Altogether tasty zinfandel blend.
Another tasty Prisoner wine. Big on berries, chocolate and sweet oak treatment. For the 2009 vintage I think I like the new Abstract label more as the Rhone focus makes for a more interesting food friendly wine.
I intiatlly tasted this wine a few weeks ago and fell in love with it's balance of Zin and subtle cab (intended) as the wine maker notes.. perhaps those seeking a more distinct Cab experience should look elsewhere but overall this is a wonderful experience - however will also wait until next year as it did exhibit a bit of immaturity. Perhaps priced above it's place for now.
Pop and pour ... Nice nose of spice, berries and cocoa. A bit less brash than previous Prisoners, but still quit good. Smooth, fruity and complex. Not my favorite vintage of this, one of my favorite wines, but still very good.
BIG drop in quality from the 2008 vintage. Over-ripe zin. No oak or tannins. Blah. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come from Orin Swift. At this price point, there are MANY higher quality zins/zin blends out there.
I usually love this wine. The 2007 and 2008 were to-die-for (the reviewer that stated otherwise had a corked bottle or was on crack), but this vintage just isn't the same. I'm hoping it's just too young and things will get better, but right now this is over-ripe with little to no tannins. The cab taste is almost absent, leaving the blend tasting more like a run-of-the-mill inexpensive CA zin. Disappointing.
Zin fruit predominates in this blend. Nice young CA style -- masculine, moderate tannin, good acid. Better in a couple of years when it softens and develops some bouquet. Interesting nose, not obviously grapey -- maybe aged in used spirit barrels?
Oh, I soooo wanted to tear this wine a brand-new, suppurating anus, as it was the loathesome, utterly vile 2008 Prisoner that prompted my inaugural Cellartracker post - a post in which I now realize I was far too generous to that wine. This fact is borne home now by the fact that this iteration is appreciably less revolting than the 2008, yet I feel no desire to acknowledge it as anything approaching worthy or rate it in the vicinity of wines I'd actually be inclined to drink. It's still considerably worse than many wines I've indicated as mediocre or sub-par; like its predecessor, this is unbalanced, baked, scorched, over-ripe, plodding, and bloated. Unlike the 2008, it doesn't induce the gag reflex or recommend itself as a replacement to ipecac in the medicine cabinet. You can stand to hold this wine in your mouth for a few moments to really gauge how unpleasant it tastes, unlike the 2008 where the instinct for self-preservation immediately prompts the taster to spit it out. Also, the sense of alcohol's somewhat reduced, such that you don't fear respiring in the vicinity of an open flame - again, in contrast to the 2008. But that doesn't mean for a moment that I like this, or that I'd ever be inclined to drink this on my own advisement. A friendly note to the no-doubt fine people at Orin Swift: fractionally better than noxious will not win my approbation. I suppose you could use this in a sauce, if you weren't going to eat it or feed to anyone you really wanted to please or impress. Which is more than I'd grant the 2008. Did I mention how much I hate that wine? I did? Good.
a bit tart but striking and full in your mouth. a touch of heat that I think will integrate - opened this a bit early to try to get a sense for future bottles. Seems like a higher percentage of zin this year than prior years.