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 . Carlisle also recently released their first Cabernet Sauvignon from Montecillo Vinyard and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Papera Vineyard 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. I ranked Papera highly in my Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
Purple in color. 15.4% ABV. 96% Zinfandel and 4% Carignane. Savory nose of dark red fruits, licorice, plums and baking spices. Medium to full bodied with exceptional acidity. Super silky and plush. Raspberry, cherry liqueur, blackberry and a hint of citrus on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. It does not get much better than Papera fruit in the hands of Mike Officer. Drink over the next year or so.
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 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.