Carlisle Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1998 by Mike and Kendall Officer. Their passion is clear: Small lots of Zinfandel and Syrah from exceptional, historic vineyards. Many of these vineyards are heritage sites planted by Italian immigrants and date back to the late 1800s . They have also recently added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County’s first ever Grüner Veltliner.
The components for the Sonoma County Zinfandel save for 2% Petite Sirah, come from vines planted between 1895 and 1934. It includes vineyards such as Saitone, Montafi, Bedrock, Papera, and Pagani.
Violet in color. 15% ABV. The nose is a little subdued at this point but some vanilla, black fruits and baking spice emerge with aggressive swirling. Medium body with perfect acidity and balance. The fruit is brambly, exotic and lush. Flavors of blackberry, raspberry and a touch of pepper. As I drink this wine I can’t help but think how good some of the single vineyard wines from this vintage will be. Consume over the next few years.
My rating: 92 points.
Along with the Old Vine blends from Turley and Bedrock this wine is the benchmark for California Zinfandel in the low $20 price range.
Current vintages of the various Carlisle wines 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 in the Spring and Fall.
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