Cellar Management

Prioritizing the Carlisle Mailer

With the arrival yesterday of the Carlisle mailer so began the semi-annual struggle of deciding what wines to buy from one of my very favorite producers. This mailer, with 13 different wines, included two whites, two Syrahs, a Petite Sirah and 8 different Zinfandels. What makes this particular mailer somewhat unique is it is the last vintage for a couple Zins that have become staples in my cellar all the while adding a new vineyard designate that has me somewhat intrigued.

Below is how I would approach the mailer at different bottle increments.

  • 3 bottles – For me, Carlisle is first and foremost a Zinfandel producer. If I was going to limit myself to 3 bottles I would make sure to include the Hayne and Monte Rosso as unfortunately Carlisle will no longer have access to these venerable vineyards. I would also include the Montafi as it is consistently one of my top 2 Zins from Carlisle. All 3 of these vineyards scored high when I ranked my Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
  • 6 bottles – If I were able to add 3 more bottles to the 3 above I would include the Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Limerick Lane Zinfandel and Papa’s Block Syrah. Mancini is new to the Carlisle lineup. I’ve always enjoyed the Mancini Ranch Zins from Joseph Swan and on top of that Mancini Ranch is literally a stones throw from my favorite Zin Vineyard, Papera Ranch. I’ve been a fan of Limerick Lane going back 20 years and the vineyard rarely disappoints. For my 6th bottle I am giving a very slight edge to the Papa’s Block Syrah over the Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah. For my money Papa’s Block is the best Syrah made by Mike Officer.
  • 9 bottles – The last 3 bottles I would add to my order would be the aforementioned Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah, Sonoma County Zinfandel and Compagni Portis White Wine. The Petite Sirah from Carlisle is one of the best in the state although I’d include Turley and Switchback Ridge in the conversation. The Sonoma County Zinfandel is a staple in my household. You can do no better for $24. Lastly, if you have not tried one of Mike’s white wines you are missing out. The Compagni Portis is the place to start.

It just goes to show how strong this offering is when the wines that did not make the cut are all exceptional: the DuPratt Zinfandel, Steiner Gruner Vetliner, Sonoma County Syrah and Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Consider the Sonoma County Syrah if you need to fill out a case. For just $20 this is an amazing wine.

Carlisle is all about exceptional wines at exceptional prices. My advice…buy all you can afford.

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