The big bold reds have arrived. Black Sage Vineyard recently released their 2014 lineup, including Zinfandel, Shiraz, Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Cab Franc.

One thing they have in common: they're unabashedly drinkable. Oh, and they've got the backbone to lay down for a while too, if you're buying an extra bottle (as all are under $25, this isn't a bad idea). 

Winemaker Jason James joined Sumac Ridge in 2005, and in 2010 took over winemaking for Sumac plus newly spun-off label, Black Sage. “The vineyard has some of the oldest plantings of late ripening reds in the valley. I’ve just been so impressed with the quality of fruit that the Black Sage Vineyard delivers every year.”

Nestled on the east side of the valley, the deep sandy soils of the Black Sage Bench combine with extra sunshine hours, to ripen even the most challenging Bordeaux varietals - like Cab Sauv. In a banner year like the 2014 vintage, this means particularly good reds. Says James, "I feel very good about the 2014 vintage. In my opinion it's one of the most solid showings of wines from Black Sage Vineyard in a long time".

One element that benefited in particular from the extra sun: tannins. Black Sage are known for their structured big wines, that sometimes need a bit of bottle age before they're ready to enjoy. The 2014's are generous enough to drink now, with notably approachable tannins.

Black Sage Vineyard 2014 Zinfandel

Plums, a hint of smoke and spice, red licorice, espresso, laden with red raspberry. Vanilla and marzipan. Nice velvety tannins, and warming peppery finish, balanced by bright acidity. Not a wallflower, but perfect for fans of indulgent reds. Voluptuous! {available exclusively at the winery}

Black Sage Vineyard 2014 Shiraz

Definitely a Shiraz, the fruit wafts right up out of the glass: preserved red and blue fruit, vanilla, lavender, a hint of meaty black olive, almost saline, with a spiced finish and generous texture. {available exclusively at the winery}

Black Sage Vineyard 2014 Merlot

Cherry cocoa galore, great intensity of singing red cherry, dusty mouth coating tannins, clove, sweet licorice, vanilla. Not a run of the mill Merlot, has character.

Black Sage Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Franc

Floral, with violets and fresh pencil shavings (in the best way), delicate dried mint, surprisingly savoury, robust tannins, lingering spice. Calls for laying down one more year. Pair with steak and peppercorns, or anything with Montreal steak spice.

Black Sage Vineyard 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Oodles of fruit, deep burgundy, jumps out of the glass with powerful intensity, blackberry and black cherry, pure graphite, lovely eucalyptus note. Vanilla and a touch of residual sugar along with substantial tannins give it heft (the grapes were allowed to ripen until a November harvest). Very pleasing mocha note. Would appeal to fans of Cali Cabernet. 


All images courtesy of Black Sage Vineyards. Wines samples were provided by Black Sage Vineyards. Please see my Sample Policy for more information. Cheers!