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Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal

Jim Gordon Scores it 92 POINTS

By Bruce Neyers

Thursday 16th March, 2023

The 2020 Sage Canyon Red from Neyers Vineyards: Some welcome praise

I’ve always enjoyed reading wine reviews by Jim Gordon. He seems to speak for serious wine lovers, and he’s clearly one himself. Last month, we shipped the last of our 2019 Sage Canyon Red – a wine which had certainly worked its way into my heart – and we have begun to offer the 2020 Sage Canyon Red. After reading Jim Gordon’s comments in the current issue of ‘The Wine Enthusiast’, we might expect an even larger audience for the wine. Here’s what he had to say:

“Concentrated, elegant and well-balanced, this wine offers a classic Rhône-style combo of fruity, meaty and spicy flavors on a well-polished texture that feels silky while delivering nice depth and focus. Best vintage since 2016.
– Jim Gordon

The blend of the 2020 Sage Canyon Red is 55% Carignan, 30% Mourvèdre, and 15% Grenache. The Carignan is largely from a block of 140-year-old vines at the Evangelho Vineyard in Oakley, in the northeastern corner of Contra Costa County. The crop is small on these ancient vines, and the fruit is picked by hand, then sorted by visual inspection, before going into a stainless steel fermentation tank with 100% of the stems retained. We then crush the grapes by foot, using a traditional FrenchPigeage. The Mourvèdre and Grenache components are processed in a similar fashion, with the wine then aged for one year in neutral French oak barrels. We bottle without fining or filtration.

This is one of our most attractive bottlings of Sage Canyon Red, and seems to combine rusticity with exotic aromas, like passion fruit, blackberry and cassis. It’s attractive right out of the bottle, and as Barbara says, it goes with almost everything. This time of year though, we’re trying to squeeze in as many season-ending garden salads as possible, as the tomato crop is beginning to wind down, just as Barbara’s garden lettuces are getting started. Add a ripe avocado or two, and her magnificent pan-sautéed garlic croutons, and you’ve got a classic meal all by itself – or at least the start to a pretty satisfying one. Barbara’s recipe is below.

Barbara’s Late Summer Mixed Green Salad

Serves 4


  • 2 early girl tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 6 cups of washed lettuce, a combination of red leaf lettuce, romaine, frisée, watercress and arugula
  • Bread for croutons
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil for croutons
  • Diamond Crystal Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper


  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup Extra virgin olive oil

Combine the two vinegars and mustard. Slowly add olive oil whisking until the mixture is emulsified.  Set aside.


  1. Cut bread into bite-size pieces and sauté in olive oil until lightly browned on both sides. After cooling, rub one side with an open face of garlic.
  2. Cut the tomato and avocado into chunks and put in the salad bowl. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Wash, and thoroughly dry the lettuce. Tear the lettuce leaves and add to the salad bowl along with frisée, watercress and arugula.
  4. Toss the tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, frisée, watercress, arugula and croutons with the vinaigrette.
Old Carignon Vine Frank Evangelho Vineyard
An old Carignan vine on the Frank Evangelho Vineyard in Oakley. This block of vines — some of them 140 years-old — are own-rooted, and yield a small crop on the sandy soil in northeastern Contra Costa County.

Barbara’s mixed green salad made with tomatoes, fresh garden lettuces, and ripe avocado. The croutons — sautéed in olive oil, then rubbed with a fresh garlic clove — make it even more suitable to serve with a red wine.

Fifty-year-old Mourvèdre vines in the ‘Old Potrero’ block of the Arroyo Grande Vineyard.