Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike & Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards.
Carlisle Vineyard was planted in 1927 on the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain. Both sides of the Laguna were popular for settlement by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s. Today, thanks to families like Pietro’s, Carlo’s, Montafi, Bacigalupi, Fava, and Saitone, the area represents “ground zero” when it comes to old-vine Russian River Valley Zinfandel.
As was typical in the early 1900s, Carlisle Vineyard is a field blend consisting of predominantly Zinfandel with a sprinkling of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and Carignane.
Dark garnet in color and just starting to fade slightly on the edges. The wine checks in at 15.9% ABV but at first taste the alcohol is totally in check. Somehow the wine is concentrated and plush yet light on its feet at the same time. Red fruits, earth and just a slight touch of vanilla on the nose. Raspberries, eucalyptus, mineral and flowers on the palate. The finish is long and spicy. For me this wine stands apart from many of the other Carlisle single vineyards Zinfandels. It is almost always less jammy and hedonistic but to its credit, more elegant and balanced. Well done!
My rating: 94 points.
Current vintages of the various Carlisle Zinfandels are available via the mailing list, which is exceptionally long. Several retail outlets in California stock Carlisle, but you need to check with them at the time the winery releases their wines each spring and fall.
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