The Black Sears Estate 2010 Napa Valley Zinfandel is one for the ages. Bittersweet chocolate, black raspberry preserves, black pepper, baking spices and dusty sun-dried strawberry on the nose, with a hint of the ceremonial cedar box of warm sake. With Bing cherry, sweet tobacco leaves, cinnamon flavors and legs like Tina Turner, the 2010 is even better with another year in the bottle.
I tasted this in January 2013 at the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) annual event and fell in love. A bunch of us compared notes at dinner afterwards. Then Richard Jenkins (RJonwine) beat the rest of us to the punch and mentioned it as a favorite on Huffington Post and, damn him, started a stampede. There were few bottles left for me after my initial ZAP purchase.
I don’t know if this is the best wine I ever tasted but it is certainly one of the best I ever tasted and then purchased… twice. A year and a half later in the bottle and it’s Helen Mirren sexier. The font is super tiny but I think it says ABV 16.1% SRP $50 at release.
Paired with Bauhaus, or Peter Murphy on his own, add a juicy rib-eye, loaded mashed potatoes and creamed spinach with bacon and shallots, this wine is AMAZING! I think I have only two bottles left, sadly. I tasted it tonight as part of a San Francisco Wine School California Wine Appellation Specialist certification program I’m taking. I often choose a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel over Napa, but when it comes to Howell Mountain, the Zin is darkly divine.
This vintage is sold out. The 2011 is only available if you know a sorcerer. The 2012 will be released next Spring. I suggest you get on the Black Sears allocation list if you want some.
And while you’re waiting…