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.
The vineyard was planted in 1902 and 1903 and is located on the west side of St. Helena at the base of Spring Mountain. Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel goes to Turley and Chase. I wrote about Hayne Vineyard in Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
Crimson in color. 15.9% ABV. Stunning nose of red and black fruits, licorice and flowers. Full bodied with strong acidity and remarkable balance. Lush, rich and concentrated. Big and structured. Black cherry, raspberry compote and pepper grace the palate. The finish is exceptionally long with notable tannins. I think my sweet spot for Carlisle will always be the Russian River Valley Zins but this sure is a tremendous wine. Best over the next 2-3 years.
My rating: 94 points.
The last vintage of Carlisle Zinfandel from Hayne Vineyard was 2015.
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.