David Phinney, the genius behind The Prisoner, continues with his new Locations' series of wines.
A couple of years ago, Phinney had the idea that he could do so much more with his wine if there weren't any boundaries to the vineyards. In other words, why not blend a Rhone grenache with a Languedoc grenache and call it "F" for France? Thus was born Locations, a portfolio of wines that now include Spain, Italy, Texas, Washington, New York and more. The labels for each of them mimic a bumper sticker: a single letter in an oval circle.
The recent releases I tasted are enjoyable, although without characteristics that would help locate them. In other words, their generic flavors didn't tell me they were French or Californian. However, Phinney seems to take care in selecting complementing grape varieties. "E5" (Spain) is a common blend of garnacha, tempranillo, monastrell and carinena. "NZ" (New Zealand) is entirely sauvignon blanc (what else is there to blend in New Zealand?). "W" is a combination of syrah, merlot and petit sirah grapes. "E5" was my favorite.
The best news is that these tasty wines are sold for $20.