Deciding he’d focus more on non-Cabernet varieties, Phinney’s blends immediately took off, and he started to develop a following. Two of his brands, ‘The Prisoner’ and Saldo would become MASSIVE, with the former earning Wine Spectator Top 100 honors three years in a row. Dave would eventually sell the two to the owners of Quintessa for a rumored $40 million to pursue new projects. Of course, unsurprisingly, his ‘Locations’ project went absolutely nuts.
Not bound to centuries-old rules dictating which grapes you’re “allowed” to blend into a wine in each region in order to bottle something a certain way, Dave opted to bottle everything as simply Locations along with the region of origin (e.g. France, Spain, Italy, California, etc.)
But Italy presented Dave with a particularly difficult challenge: how the heck do you decide which grapes you’re going to use for your Italian Red blend from a list of over 2000 indigenous varieties, without having to follow any of the archaic rules about which can be mixed?!? Luckily, Dave took his time, experimented constantly and absolutely nailed all the components.
He would settle on a native grape to Puglia and Nero D’Avola for the body and grippy tannins and Barbera from Alba for the lift and acidic backbone. The results since the first rendition have been both mesmerizing for consumers and maddening for locals. But now in the 8th iteration, the Locations ‘IT” has become a firm fixture amongst the biggest and baddest under $25 Italian reds.
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