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 . Expect to see a Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Montecillo Vinyard and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in the near future.
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.
Garnet in color. 15.8% ABV. 92% Zinfandel and 8% Mixed Blacks. Sublime nose of brambly dark fruits, licorice, cocoa and cracked black pepper. Medium body with vibrant acidity. Plush, decadent and well balanced. Black cherry, plums, baking spices and pepper on the palate. The finish is long and somewhat brooding. Brilliant Zinfandel from a troublesome vintage. Best over the next 2-3 years.
My rating: 93 points.
For my money Carlisle is the top 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.