Review: 2005 Sean Thackrey Orion

Review: 2005 Sean Thackrey Orion

When last I drink Orion, it was the 1995 vintage, which I rated a (very) rare A+. I thought I’d never have Orion again, but then I was surprised with a whole case of 2005 Orion (plus a bottle of that ’95). I cracked open bottle #1 tonight to see what might have changed in 10 long years.

I was shocked. I drank the ’95 in 2002, seven years after harvest. Here I am with the ’05 just three years later… surely it would be tight, considering how inky black this wine is when you pour it. (Seriously, pour an inch into a glass and it block all the light.) As with the ’95, though, this was as light as a breeze. No tannin, almost like a perfectly-aged Pinot Noir, but incongruously as black as the night.

Cocoa powder is the big secondary note here, laced through the plum and cherry of the wine. A little different than the 1995, but outstanding and, shockingly, ready to drink right now. How fast should I drink 11 more bottles of the stuff? Two a year, perhaps? I’ll try to report back from time to time to see how the Orion ages in the cellar.

A / $70 /

2005 Sean Thackrey Orion




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Lev on January 30, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I bought my Thackrey wines a few years ago, and although I’ve had plenty of his Pleiades (which I find thoroughly enjoyable, and always different from year to year) this was the first big gun I had the guts to open. The Orion is the most expensive wine I have in my cellar so this was a big step. But the occasion called for such a wine, and did it stand up you ask? More than I could have imagined. The 2000 is smoooooooooth as can be. Beautifully balanced and playing on the tongue so beautifully. We had it with very simple local Sonoma leg of lamb done on the grill with an even more simple arugula salad. Nevermind all the primary, secondary or whatever notes … it was pure heaven. Simple as that. We’ll finish the other half bottle tomorrow, and I suspect it’ll be even better than tonight. Is it worth $75? Is it better than 7 cocktails at some local San Francisco bar? Keep those cocktails, I’ll pour another glass of my Orion. Cheers, lev.

  2. Kurt on April 24, 2009 at 10:35 am

    We just shared a bottle of the 2006 from Mark Pope.
    Dark, dense, opaque, deeeeep purple. Striking eucalyptus nose with dust, leather and raisin. Palate filling beefy-bodied dark cherry, plum, anise and sage. Extraordinary.
    We’re going back for more. My wife and I shared with a big ol’ mesquite charcoal-grilled porterhouse, grilled corn and arugula. Perfect all around.
    Get some more of this stuff. Unlike anything I’ve had before.

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