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.
James Berry Vineyard is situated in Paso Robles and is tended to by Justin Smith of Saxum Vineyards. The “Carlisle” block of James Berry Vineyard is located just below the terraced “Bone Rock” section and is planted to Syrah clones 470 and 174.
Purple in color. 15.9% ABV. Savory nose of black and blue fruits, bacon fat, olive brine and flowers. Full bodied with exquisite acidity and impeccable balance. Supremely lush with no rough edges. Black cherry, blueberry liqueur, barbecued meats and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Stunning Syrah that has aged exceptionally well. Best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 95 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.