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.
Monte Rosso was planted in the 1880’s by Emanuel Goldstein and the original winery is still on the property. The vineyard is at 1300′ elevation and is situated on the Southwest side of the Mayacamas Range, close to the town of Agua Caliente. The fruit goes to Orin Swift and Louis Martini.
Dark crimson in color. 15.9% ABV. 93% Zinfandel and 7% Grand Noir. Soaring nose of red and black fruits, citrus and spice. Medium to full bodied with mouth watering acidity. Incredibly lush, concentrated and balanced. Black cherries, raspberries, blood orange and pepper on the palate. The finish is exceptionally long and seamless. I prefer the better Carlisle Zins 6-7 years after vintage but this particular wine has all the components to age for years to come. Likely best over the next 2-4 years.
My rating: 94 points.
The last vintage of Carlisle Monte Rosso 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.