Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month – 2008 Black Sears Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month is a new feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. For background please see the first installment published last October. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The July Zinfandel of the Month is the 2008 Black Sears.

In 1979, Joyce Black and Jerre Sears purchased a one-of-a-kind property at the top of Howell Mountain. In 1997, Joyce and Jerre began producing very small quantities of estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel for their new Black Sears label, a few hundred cases per vintage. For twelve years, winemaker Ted Lemon called the Black Sears winery home, producing both the Black Sears wines and his own Littorai Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But in 2007 Ted fulfilled a lifelong dream and built his own winery in Sebastopol.

Soon thereafter, Joyce and Jerre learned that their friends and neighbors down Summit Lake Drive at Outpost needed some additional capacity. Winemaker Thomas Brown was taking on more projects, and Outpost’s facility was running out of room for them all. Moreover, Thomas needed open-top tanks so he could make Pinot and Chardonnay for his own Rivers Marie label. Thomas and cellar-master Andrew Jones now inhabit the Black Sears winery, where they craft wines for their own label, Rivers Marie, Schrader and others.

The 37 year old vines for the 2008 Zinfandel are on an east-facing plot at the absolute top of Howell Mountain. Deep red in color. 15.5% ABV. Black fruits, figs and Howell Mountain pepper on the nose. Rich, jammy and spicy with a hint of acidity. Great flavors of white pepper, blackberries, cherry cordial and plums. There is no shortage of tannins on an exceptional finish. Drink over the next 1-3 years. Super Zinfandel.

My rating: 93 points

The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $50 and is only available via the mailing list. The 2012 version will be released in the Spring of 2015.

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