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 .
Papera Ranch is situated in the Russian River Valley at the intersection of Piner and Olivet and was planted in 1934 by Charlie Papera. Most vineyards from this era are comprised of a number of mixed black varieties. Papera, on the other hand, is almost entirely Zinfandel. Papera made my list of Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
Purple in color. 15% ABV. Sublime nose of bright, juicy fruits, baking spices and pepper. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Impeccable balance. Cherry liqueur, raspberry compote, wild strawberry and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. It doesn’t get much better than a Zinfandel from the Papera Vineyard in the hands of Mike Officer. The 2016 is stunning. Best over the next 3-5 years.
My rating: 96 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 and wrote about that in An Afternoon at Carlisle Winery.