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 .
Monte Rosso was planted in the 1880’s by Emanuel Goldstein and the original winery is still on the property. The vineyard is at 1300′ elevation and is situated on the Southwest side of the Mayacamas Range, close to the town of Agua Caliente. The fruit goes to Orin Swift and Louis Martini.
Crimson in color. 15.1% ABV. 91% Zinfandel and 9% Grand Noir. Heady nose of red fruits, licorice and pepper. Medium body with mouthwatering acidity. Rich, concentrated and packed with bright, juicy fruits. Cherry, raspberry liqueur, pomegranate and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Monte Rosso has always been a Zinfandel that ages well and that certainly plays out here. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 95 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 2020 Carlisle Zinfandel Barrel Samples with Mike Officer.