Overview of the Wine
The Black Sears vineyards lie nestled among hundreds of acres of wild oak forests at the top of Howell Mountain. Approximately twenty-four acres of the four-hundred-twenty acre ranch have been planted as vineyard over an east-facing hillside where an apple orchard once stood.
Looking down from high above the valley fog, the vineyard shares its home and its view with black bears, mountain lions, hawks and rattlesnakes. At just over 2400 feet, it is the highest vineyard on Howell Mountain and is among the highest vineyards in all of Napa Valley. The unique climate of Howell Mountain produces wines with a firm structure, intense fruit flavors, earthy spice, and round acidity. The ashy, iron-laden soils are perfectly suited for growing full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel and earthy, rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. These mountaintop conditions and the varied hillside microclimates combine to produce wines of complex structure, incredible intensity, and the intrepid flavors of a remote and distinctive terrain.
Grape / Blend
Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California Winemaker - Thomas Rivers Brown - Tasting Notes
The 2016 vintage is being hailed by critics as another classic for Napa Valley, drawing comparisons to 2013 for both the even growing season and the quality of the wines, as well as their age-ability.
Visually, the 2016 Black Sears Estate Zinfandel is a maroon velour curtain at the opera, lit at the edge by the bright stage lights portending the drama to come. The nose is more white pepper than black, with an abundance of rocky mountain-top. On the palate, this is a heady, intellectual Zin that, like a rhythm from Buddy Rich, seems to dance around the very concept of Zinfandel. The wine is dry on approach, with the sense of black and red fruit almost implied by the abundant spice and minerality before it blossoms on the tongue. And it’s this minerality that really defines this wine. Without any water from the heavens in '16, it’s as though the roots resorted to drinking the iron itself from the kaolinitic clay in the soil. The finish is bright and sunny, with a lingering, statuesque impression of red fruit carved out of stone.
Pair with leg of lamb and gremolata cooked on an open flame behind the camper van under a Yosemite valley sunset, with Led Zeppelin cranked up loud enough to elicit complaints. It’s been a long time since you Rock n’ Rolled…
Product size: 750ml