Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month – 2010 Black Sears Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. 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 March Zinfandel of the Month is the 2010 Black Sears Zinfandel.

I chose the 2010 Black Sears as my Zinfandel of the Month in advance of the release of the 2014 next week.

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 now crafts Black Sears, Rivers Marie and others at the Black Sears Winery.

Light crimson in color. 16.1% ABV (you read that correctly). Big nose of black fruits, iron, pepper and cocoa powder. Full bodied with enough acidity. Well balanced despite the high ABV but the wine does have a bit of a roasted character. Black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and anise on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. Absolutely delicious Howell Mountain Zinfandel with a noticeable TRB signature. Not for the faint of heart but I am a fan. Drink over the next 2-3 years.

My rating: 93 points

The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $50 and is only available via the mailing list which I strongly recommend.

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