I was talking to one of my fellow wine-lover friends a couple of months back, and she was raving about a California Red Blend called Orin Swift Machete. She said it was one of the best wines she has ever had. Knowing her taste palate tends to bold, in-your-face wines. Realizing my wife likes the same wine style, I bought a few bottles.
Per the winemaker’s notes on their website, they didn’t worry about the appellation constraints; instead focusing on creating a wine that captures all the nuance of a petite Sirah based wine, both powerful and delicate at the same time. This wine is an iron fist in a velvet glove, delivering a knockout of dark fruits with a subtlety of chocolate and cherries.
Before the rise of Super Tuscans, blends had a reputation for a substandard wine. Now blends are more innovative, breaking the stranglehold of terroir restrictions and wine snobbery. Machete is a Napa, California blend with all the makings of a mad winemaker’s laboratory experiment. But in the end, it works, easily rivaling the better Tuscan blends from my perspective.
Machete is a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache varietals. The wine ages for 10 months in French Oak barrels, of which 40% are new. New French Oak may be the secret critical component for Machete. As French Oak is more subtle and smooth while American Oak imparts a stronger flavor to the wine. French Oak maturation may help to blend this wine together into a wine greater than the sum of its parts. (although the newer barrels ensures the wines isn’t TOO tame!)
My Tasting Notes
This wine is as daring as its label, with a strong nose of plums, coffee, and tobacco. Good palate of dark plum and fig, along with a touch of minerality in a long finish. Complex for such a young wine. This wine definitely benefits from time to open up, so decant or let it breathe for 30 minutes or longer.