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.
Overlooking the Salinas River Valley, the 50-acre Rosella’s Vineyard rests along the benchlands of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Owners Gary and Rosella Franscioni planted the vineyard in 1996.
Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Savory nose of black fruits, olives, bacon fat and flowers. Full bodied with exquisite acidity. Plush and rich with great texture. Black cherry, boysenberry, coffee and barbecued meats on the palate. The finish is long and seamless with subtle tannins. Exceedingly approachable now but the structure is here if you want to see how this will develop. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 93 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 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings. I also had a chance to visit Mike Officer recently and wrote about that in An Afternoon at Carlisle Winery.