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 . Carlisle also recently released their first Cabernet Sauvignon from Montecillo Vinyard and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Pagani Ranch is just off Highway 12 in the Glen Ellen area of Sonoma County. Angela and Felice Pagani came to Sonoma County from Italy, purchased the property and planted the vineyard in the early 1900’s. In addition to Carlisle the fruit goes to Ridge, Seghesio, Biale and Bedrock.
Opaque purple in color. Much darker than I would have expected. 14.9% ABV. Intriguing nose of black fruits, licorice and baking spices. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Just bursting with bright, fresh fruits. Black raspberry, blackberry liqueur, blueberry and a healthy dose of pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long. Somewhat atypical for Carlisle as this Zinfandel veers from red fruits to black and blue fruits but absolutely stunning. Best over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 94 points.
I can make an argument that Carlisle is the best Zinfandel producer in the state of California. 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.
I’ve wrote about Carlisle previously in Winery Mailing Lists: The Fab 5 and The 2018 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings. I also had a chance to visit Mike Officer recently and wrote about that in An Afternoon at Carlisle Winery.