2016 Orin Swift Machete California Red Blend

2016 Orin Swift Machete California Red Blend
2016 Machete California Red Blend

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.     


Carolina grad, business owner, Master of the Oblivious, "Rural Renaissance Man", dog lover, family man, geek...

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