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.
Carlisle Vineyard, planted in 1927, lies in the Piner/Olivet area of the Russian River Valley. Around the intersection of these two roads you can find a rare clumping of old vineyards that have somehow survived the last 100+ years. Papera, Mancini, Saitone and Montafi to name a few. The vineyard is approximately 90% Zinfandel and a vast array of other field blend varietals.
Crimson in color. 15.3% ABV. Heady nose of red and black fruits, anise and earth. Medium body with medium acidity. Well balanced. Black cherry, boysenberry, blood orange and earth on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Slightly atypical for Calisle with less acidity and darker fruits but compelling in it’s own right. Best over the next year or so.
My rating: 91 points.
Don’t miss the 2018 version of this wine which should be released next Spring.
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.