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Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal

The 2020 Neyers Sage Canyon Red

By Bruce Neyers

Saturday 26th August, 2023


While the old-vine Carignan and Mourvèdre from the Evangelho Vineyard in Oakley are still the core of our Sage Canyon Red, we’ve added fruit from vineyards in Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, Lodi, and the Sierra Foothills to this unique blend. Doing so has broadened the wine’s complexity and added further elements of rusticity and elegance.


In my years working with Kermit Lynch, importing and distributing French wines throughout the US, I was never more at home in any part of France than in the southern Rhône. When one of my favorite producers from the area – Daniel Brunier of Châteauneuf du Pape – suggested we try our hand at producing a blend similar in style to the great wines of that region, Tadeo and I acted on his advice. It took several years to find sources of the red varieties traditionally grown in the south of France. We then spent several years honing the techniques used to make the wine.


The grapes for this wine are all hand-harvested, meticulously sorted during a visual inspection, then crushed by foot rather than by machine, using traditional French ‘pigeage’. The wine was fermented using native, wild yeast, with 100% stem retention. After 18 months of aging in neutral French oak barrels, the wine was bottled, without fining or filtration. The result is a beautifully structured, hand-tooled wine, traditional in both aroma and flavor and suitable for the food from that wonderful French paradise where Provence meets the culture of the north, olive oil replaces butter, and the Mistral blows with uncommon vigor. This is the perfect match to a whole roasted chicken, or a spit-roasted leg of lamb. Look for a broad aroma of wild fruits and exotic spices accompanied by attractive flavors of berries and ginger. The final blend includes Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.

Ripe Carignan grapes from the Evangelho Vineyard near Oakley in northeast Contra Costa County. These vines are now almost 140-years old.

As we expanded our search for vineyards in California planted to traditional southern Rhône varieties, we came upon the Diamond West Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, an important source of Mourvèdre for us now.