If you’re a member of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) club, I guarantee you’ll love Blindfold, since the wine takes chardonnay to a higher altitude. It’s a versatile wine that can be enjoyed mildly chilled on its own as an aperitif, as an accompaniment to cheeses like Gruyère and semi-soft Monterey Jack, or as a foil for mild to medium curries. The man behind it is winemaker David Swift Phinney of Orin Swift Wine Cellars. The Blindfold is the white counterpart to his hugely popular red blend, The Prisoner.
It’s an unusual blend of chardonnay (35 percent), Rhone whites (60 percent viognier, rousanne, marsanne, and grenache blanc), and aromatic whites (5 percent semillon and riesling), sourced from Sonoma Carneros, Paso Robles, and Santa Ynez appellations. The wine is aged in 25 percent new French and Hungarian oak barrels, 60 percent in neutral oak barrels, and 15 percent in stainless steel tanks for 10 months.
Blindfold is captivating because of its originality, with a flavor profile that challenges the senses. The nose offers uncommon intensity of aromas of exotic tropical fruits, grilled pineapple, baked pear, lemon zest, and buttery brioche. On the palate, it’s fresh, rich, and creamy, with layered flavors of apple tart, baked pear, banana, butterscotch, vanilla, and cardamom spice.
Available for about $30 at Hi-Time Wine, Total Wine, and OC Wine Mart. Orin Swift’s Napa Valley tasting room, at 1325 Main St. in St. Helena, has an edgy vibe and is worth a visit.