Orison Wines is a sweet story about two young winemakers, Filipa Fonseca and Daniel Orrison, who met while working harvest in New Zealand, fell in love, created their own wine brand and became husband and wife. They are both highly educated in other fields, considering Daniel has two degrees from William and Mary and Filipa has a degree in Food Engineering from the University of Coimbra in her native country of Portugal, yet they each followed their passion for wine on a quest around the globe to learn how to make it. After experiencing harvests and cellar internships in five countries at 17 different wineries for some of the world’s finest estates like Harlan Estate & Bond Winery, Chateau Montelena, Domaine des Croix, Camille Giroux, Larkmead Winery, Pride Mountain Vineyards & Winery and Failla Winery, they have! Together with their fellow Portuguese friend, Ricardo Carvalho, the Orrisons founded Orison Wines in 2011 “to bring the beauty and spirit of Portugal to the United States through wine.”
They named the label, ‘Orison’ with only one ‘r’ because the word has several literary references and means ‘prayer’ and ‘horizon’ in the contexts of writings by William Shakespeare and John Clare. In 2013, Filipa and Daniel started working with Luis Duarte, who is considered the Godfather of Alentejo with over 30 years of experience making wine and is largely responsible for the elevated reputation of the area as one of the fine wine growing regions of the world. He is also an excellent vineyard manager who supervises the farming of many of the best sites there, following organic and biodynamic principles, though without the complicated bureaucratic certification. The grapes for this ‘Pipa’ (Filipa’s nickname) come from one such 92 acre vineyard in the Alentejo appellation of Reguengos de Monsaraz. This 2015 is a blend of 42% Touriga Nacional, 33% Tinta Miuda, 15% Alicante Bouschet and 10% Aragonez (or Tempranillo as it’s called in Alentejo) that was fermented in stainless steel and aged for 16 months in 25% new, 25% one year old and 50% seasoned French oak barrels. Aromas on the nose include violet, plum, smoked cedar and ground black pepper spice while the medium-bodied palate continues with flavors of more plum, crème de cassis and cherry liqueur though in an un-sweetened way. The finish shows a light structure along with fresh acidity and a subtle touch of vanilla oak spice.