Caine Thompson
Wine reviews
30 May 2017

‘L’ marks the spot; Locations Wine makes European-style blends accessible to Americans

What’s in a name?

When it comes to wine, nomenclature can mean a great deal – depending on which country’s soil you’re standing upon…or, more accurately, which country’s terroir you’re about to start slugging on.

As we’ve discussed in this space, especially among European wines, the name on the bottle typically refers to the region from which the wine is created. There are no grapes named “Bordeaux” or “Rioja.” Whether a wine drinker knows the exact grape or blend of grapes in a bottle, he or she can be reasonably confident of a wine’s style based on its locale of origin. French Burgundy, made from Pinot Noir, will necessarily have a different flavor than the Grenache/Syrah blends of the Rhone Valley.

These general naming conventions, blends of regional grapes, flavors and styles have been reasonably consistent (and often enforced by local and state food-related law) for decades or even centuries.

Enter Dave Phinney. Phinney, the winemaker who burst onto the scene in the late 90’s with “The Prisoner” – a Zinfandel-heavy field blend from California which put his Orin Swift Cellars on the map – has, over the last few years, built up a following around a set of blends he’s named Locations Wine.