Autumn Tello
Wine reviews
27 Jul 2016

Locations Wine Reviewed by Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“The three new cuvees I tasted are among the finest wine values one could hope to find”.

I reviewed these Locations offerings from Dave Phinney  last year, who is going against all conventional wisdom of vineyard and vintage dating wines. Terrorists will claim the devil has possessed Phinney, as his offerings from France, Italy and Spain are all blends from different sectors of each country. If you judge wines on how they taste and the degree of pleasure they offer, they are all incredible efforts. The three new cuvees I tasted are among the finest wine values one could hope to find. As of now, Dave Phinney might be my “value winemaker of the year” candidate. P.S. It’s too expensive for this report, but I am including it as an hommage to what Dave Phinney has achieved. If there are better wines for under $20 a bottle in the world today, please share that information with The Wine Advocate. These are all remarkable efforts. Kudos to Dave Phinney!

These two wines require an explanation. This new project, called Locations, is the brainchild of Dave Phinney. It is anti-vintage and anti-terroir, but most importantly, bullish on quality. Essentially, what Phinney is doing is making the finest wine possible from different grape varieties grown in different regions, in this case France and Spain. This project is not limited to these two countries and in the future will include Italy, South America and the United States, and possibly Australia, New Zealand, etc. Phinney has accessed some terrific fruit for these two debut releases, and, at these prices, no one will be unhappy with these wines. Of course, if you’re going to yak terroir, transparency, and all the insufferable and pretentious wine speak that makes some wine tastings unbearable, these offerings will not “float your boat.” However, from a qualitative standpoint, they are top red wines. There are 40,000 cases of each wine and presumably the market will let us know if they are consistent from bottle to bottle. If that’s the case, these wines could be some of the finest values money can buy.

Dave Phinney, is one of the more creative young minds in all of the world’s winedom. He is doing things that are far beyond his modest age and deserves to be commended for the brilliant individuality/singularity of all of his efforts.

Locations E 2 Spanish Red Wine: 93 points

The Locations E-2 Spanish Red Wine is a blend of Grenache from Priorat, Rioja and Toro, Tempranillo from Rioja, and Carignan from Ribera del Duero and Carinyena. It has the same fermentation and upbringing as the French and Italian wines. Majestic, soaring black fruit aromas intermixed with forest floor, white flowers and kirsch emerge from this full-bodied, opulent, voluptuously textured red along with stunning richness and depth.

Locations F 2 French Red Wine: 91 points

The Locations F-2 French Red Wine is all from the 2012 vintage and is a blend of Grenache from the Roussillon, Syrah from the Rhone Valley and assorted Bordeaux varieties. It was fermented in large oak vats and aged in barrel for ten months prior to bottling. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet kiss of licorice, black currants and camphor. Deep, full-bodied and ripe (but not over-ripe), it possesses good freshness, vibrancy and delineation as well as a juicy, in-your-face style. These wines are all meant to be drunk upon release, but enough stuffing is present that they should evolve for 4-5 years.

Locations I 2 Italian Red Wine: 90 points

The Locations I-2 Italian Red Wine (also all 2012 fruit, but it can’t be called that because of the blend) is composed of Nero D’Avola and Negroamaro from Puglia, Barbera from Piedmont, and a small percentage of Sangiovese from Tuscany. It receives vinification in large oak and spends ten months in barrel prior to bottling. It displays more acidity than the French cuvee, along with notes of wild herbs, licorice, tomato skins, black olives, red and black currants, cherries, barbecue spice and burning embers. This serious, medium to full-bodied, tasty, distinctive wine can be consumed over the next several years.

Locations CA-4 California Red Wine: 90 points

The least expensive wines in Dave Phinney’s mine are his Locations portfolio. I tasted two of them. The Proprietary Red CA-4, which is a 15,000-case cuvée, all from 2014. It is a blend from diverse California areas, ranging from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino to the Sierra Foothills, of Tempranillo, Barbera, Petite Sirah and Grenache. This is an outstanding wine, the kind of bistro/brasserie red that consumers will love. Opaque deep ruby/purple, it is loaded with intense wild berry fruit and a Zinfandel-like briariness, offering pepper, herbs, a touch of smoke and loads of black fruits and background oak. This is a big boy at 15.5% alcohol, but it’s not the least hot – just savory, luscious and opulent. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.