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. A partnership was reached and Thomas is now the winemaker at Black Sears.
Crimson in color. 16.1% ABV. Riveting nose of black and blue fruits, licorice, flowers and pepper. Full bodied with notable acidity. Well balanced with just a touch of heat on the palate. Flavors of black raspberry, boysenberry and white pepper. Tremendous length on a long, almost port like, finish. Not for everyone but I can pick my spots with wines like this and appreciate what is in the bottle. Drink over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 91 points
The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $75 and is only available via the mailing list.