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 August Zinfandel of the Month is the 2017 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County.
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.
Picking Carlisle as my Zinfandel of the Month is sort of like picking Bill Belichick as the NFL coach of the year. In both cases it is something that should probably be done more often but it is almost too easy. I last featured Carlisle over 3 years ago. Likewise, Belichick has not been the NFL Coach of the Year in almost a decade.
I chose the 2017 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County because this wine is still available at wine shops like Wine Exchange and Hi Times for just under $30. I am super excited about the ’17 Zins from Carlisle. I tasted many in the barrel last Fall and I think these are some of the best wines Mike Officer has ever made. I’ll be reloading on the ’17 Sonoma County when it is cool enough to ship bottles.
This bottling is comprised of century old Russian River Valley Zinfandel and 64 year-old Zinfandel from Alexander Valley as a base. It was also blended with wine from Rossi and DuPratt vineyards and the Dry Creek Zin along with a little Petite Sirah from Two Acres.
Bright crimson in color. 15% ABV. Pretty nose of red fruits, baking spices and earth. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Elegant, refreshing and fruit forward. Well balanced. Just an array of berries on the palate. Cherry, raspberry, strawberry along with a hint of earth and pepper. Tremendous length on the finish. So delicious but still just a baby. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 92 points.
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.