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.
Ruby red in color. 15.8% ABV. Prodigious nose of jammy red and black fruits, licorice and white pepper. Full bodied Zinfandel with ample acidity. Big, bold and modern in style. Surprisingly well balanced. Raspberry liqueur, strawberry, earth and white pepper on the palate. The finish is long with pronounced chalky tannins. Howell Mountain Zinfandel at it’s very best. Drink over the next year or so.
My rating: 93 points
The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $75 and is only available via the mailing list.