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.
Montafi Vineyard was planted in 1926. Located farther up the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain, bordering the Santa Rosa city limits, this vineyard is mostly Zinfandel but does contain a good amount of Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir. Montafi made my list of Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
Dark crimson in color. 15.8% ABV. Gorgeous nose of black fruits, spice, plums and eucalyptus. Full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Very well balanced. Rich, concentrated and packed with dark fruits. Blackberry, black raspberry and pepper on the palate. Delicious, mouth coating, teeth staining Zinfandel. Always a favorite in the Carlisle lineup. Best over the next 1-2.
My rating: 94 points.
I suspect the 2019 version of this wine will be on a mailer early next year. I will certainly be a buyer.
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.