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Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal

The 2020 Neyers Sage Canyon Red – A Master’s View

By Bruce Neyers

Thursday 16th March, 2023

In his more than 30-year-long career in the wine trade, Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya has done it all. I’ve known him as a restaurateur, a wine server, a fine wine distributor, a writer, and most importantly a leader in our industry. He has scads of loyal followers, all of them — like me — better at their jobs in large measure for what they have learned from him. We were flattered to read his recent comments on this wine:

2020 Neyers “Sage Canyon Red”

Named after the location of the winery — the Sage Canyon enclave of the Napa Valley. Inspired by artisan red wine blends from France’s southern Rhône Valley and those from various nooks & crannies of southern France, this is an intentional homage to those wines & their traditional winemaking approaches — whole cluster fermentation with 100% stem retention, native yeast fermentation, must trodden by foot, fermentation in upright concrete and stainless-steel tanks, and aging for 12 months in neutral foudré and French oak barrels. Bottled unfiltered & unfined. The real success behind this blend is sourcing quality, heritage vine fruit for each of the grape components. The 2020 is mainly old vine Carignan (from vineyards like Evangelho & Jessie’s Grove) with smaller amounts of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and a dash of Syrah for completeness. I spend so much time on this wine, because of how good & inspiring it is. There really is nothing else like it that I have tasted from California. The fact is, they spent so much time & effort to realize a “dream”. It is wonderfully, tantalizingly perfumed; captivating, interesting, “game changing”, and gulpable — all at a very reasonable price. It loves pairing with Mediterranean inspired or BBQ foods. I am completely taken with the merits of this wine.

Lake Hennessey in February
Lake Hennessey in February after several winter rainstorms. The reservoir — which serves as the primary water supply for the City of Napa — is full once again. It sits at the entrance to Sage Canyon, the home of the Neyers Vineyards wine making facility we built in 1999.

When Lake Hennessey is full, excess water flows over the spillway. It’s a grand sight, and on days of heavy rain, the torrents of water ‘spilling’ out of the lake shoot plumes 50 feet or more into the air. The sight draw crowds from all over northern California. The drought isn’t over, but it’s been temporarily halted.

Old Mourvèdre vines laden with grapes for the Sage Canyon Red. These vines are from the Old Potrero Vineyard in Arroya Grande.