Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.
The December Zinfandel of the Month is the 2018 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County.
I chose this wine as the Zinfandel of the Month in advance of the release of the ’20 vintage early next year. I had a chance to try the ’20 a few months ago and it is the best Sonoma County Zin that Mike Officer has ever made. Buy all you can off the mailing list and some of you not on the mailing list might even be able to find the Sonoma County at retail. This wine is in the conversation for best value Zinfandel with the likes of Turley Old Vines and Bedrock Old Vines.
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 .
Purple in color. 15% ABV. Primarily Zin from Mounts Ranch, Teldeschi Ranch and Carlisle Vineyard with a sprinkle of Alicante Bouschet from Pagani Ranch and Petite Sirah from Rossi Ranch. Super nose of red and black fruits, licorice and baking spices. Medium to full bodied with perfect acidity and exceptional balance. Bright, juicy fruit in spades. Strawberry, raspberry, pepper and a hint of cocoa on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. It should come as no surprise that the ’18 Sonoma County is exceptional. Great vineyards and a great vintage. 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 and wrote about that in 2020 Carlisle Zinfandel Barrel Samples With Mike Officer.