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. 15.1% ABV. Gorgeous nose of black fruits, anise and cracked pepper. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Lush and fruit forward with exceptional balance. Black cherry, raspberry liqueur and white pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Very good but lacking the sheer excitement of the 15 I had a month or so back. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 92 points
The Black Sears Zinfandel is priced around $75 and is only available via the mailing list.