A Slight Decline, But Still Sublime
I am a big fan of The Prisoner. This is not news to anyone who previously read my rhapsodic review of the 2008 vintage. If you haven’t, feel free to, either now, or when you’re finished here.
I’m also a big fan of this wine, although it does show some dissimilarities with its immediate predecessor.
For one thing, while Orin Swift Cellars is still the name on the bottle, a new crew owns The Prisoner. The 2009 is the first vintage bottled by The Prisoner’s new owners, Huneeus Vintners, who also own (among others) Quintessa and Faust in Napa Valley, Flowers on the Sonoma Coast, and Veramonte in Chile.
I’m not so sure the change in ownership has benefitted the wine. In fact, before finding any of this out, I had already decided I preferred the 2008. Still, this remains one of the single finest value buys in Napa Valley wine in my opinion. At $35 per bottle, you can easily do much, much worse.
In fact, don’t let my hand-wringing over the inside baseball of ownership dissuade you: this is some really, really good wine.
The 2009 Prisoner has a dark burgundy core in the glass, that lightens a bit to red at its edges. On the nose you’ll find ripe cherries, a touch of strawberry and raspberry. The nose is almost entirely fruit, and not quite as complex as the previous vintage. The wine is medium bodied, and the palate gives more of the complex aromas and flavors that are missing a bit from the nose: incredibly bright, jammy raspberry and cherry notes mingle with subtle dark chocolate and just a touch of smoke.
Soft, supple tannins round out the mouthfeel. Incredibly tasty.
Hopefully, Huneeus won’t fix what ain’t broke, and hopefully fans will be able to enjoy The Prisoner for years to come.