The story of Prisoner starts over 20 years ago. It was born in 2000 in Rutherford, California, and produced by legendary winemaker Dave Phinney.
Rutherford is home to some of the world’s best wineries, including Mumm Napa, Inglenook, and Caymus, to name a few.
The wine itself was later sold to Constellation and became “The Prisoner Wine Company.”
They have released a solid number of varietal wines as well as blends since. To this day, their flagship bottle is a powerhouse in the industry.
Prisoner Red Blend Review
Prisoner Red Blend
- Brand: The Prisoner Wine Company
- Country: United States
- Region: Northern California (Based in Rutherford, Napa Valley)
- Wine Type: Red Wine
- Varietals: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Charbono, Syrah, and Petite Sirah
- ABV: 15.2%
The vintage I will be reviewing is 2018. The company does not grow grapes for their bottles but rather sources them from vineyards that they think produce high-quality fruit.
The Prisoner Red Blend is a deep, inky purple color. So much so that it stains even the cork, a beautiful shade of violet.
Big, heavy legs quickly form as you swirl the wine around a bit. The vintage I had was on the younger side, so it was very rich in color.
If you lay this vintage down for a few years to the age or pop an older bottle, do not expect it to be quite as vibrant. That said, it will be no less tasty!
Rich, dark fruit dominates the aromas of this bottle. Fresh blueberries, jammy raspberries, and cherries fill the nose.
This is quickly followed by secondary notes. Vanilla, coconut, and a hint of baking spices come through nicely.
The aromas give the impression that it will be a slightly sweeter style of wine. The moderately high alcohol level really lifts up the fruit profile on the nose, but the first sip will have you stunned at how much structure there is behind it.
I have tried a number of vintages of this bottle, and it delivered pretty much what I expected. The consistency of Prisoner Red Blend is a huge selling point for it.
On top of that, it over-delivers in complexity thanks to the assortment of grape varietals used. Each sip reveals a slightly different taste than the last.
This wine is as bold as the label on the bottle. Full-bodied, without too much tannin or acid, this is a crowd-pleaser through and through. It is hefty, opulent, and intense.
Blackberries, plum, and maraschino cherries make up the bulk of the flavor. This rich fruit is married to supporting notes of oak, chocolate, and rich spices, which really round it out.
What Does Prisoner Red Blend Pair With?
This is a wine that screams “meat” to me. It is an ideal barbecue wine and would work well with anything smoky, zesty, or with a bit of spice.
I would recommend braised short ribs. For something extra fun, try a red wine braise using this blend!
For those of you who are not meat eaters, it would be a mouthwatering option for richer dishes using portabello mushrooms, such as a veggie burger.
What Are Wines That Are Similar to the Prisoner Red Blend?
I would recommend trying some of The Prisoner Wine Company’s other wines. They have a lovely secondary label called “Unshackled.”
Additionally, they make two other great blends, albeit at a higher price point. Derange is one and uses a similar blend. Cuttings is one of their newer bottles and is a Cabernet Sauvignon-driven blend with a bit more power behind it.
Another thought for those feeling adventurous, try some zinfandel-heavy blends from other producers! Scout’s Honor from Venge is a fantastic option and features a similar plush, fruit-forward profile.
The Prisoner Red Blend is a fantastic bottle all-around. It has something for everyone to love.
While it may not be the small-production bottle started by Dave Phinney many vintages ago, it has a depth and consistency that will keep you coming back year after year.