Rarely if EVER, do I have an opportunity to secure any wine’s from Mike Officer’s now famous and coveted Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma. Ironic because Mike has purchased wine from me!! Most everything Mike produces is gobbled up by his thirsty mailing list diehards.
The Carlisle Vineyard was planted back in 1927 on the eastern bench of the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain within the Russian River Valley. The region was a popular location of Italian immigrants back in the day, therefore is considered a sort of ‘ground zero’ of old-vine Zinfandel within the North Coast. The blend is predominately made up of Zinfandel with the remainder a mix of varieties such as: Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Tempranillo, Muscadelle, Malvasia, Muscat, and 30 other varieties. The harvested grapes are fully destemmed, seeing a 10% bleed at crush to enhance concentration. The fruit then sees a long 24-day fermentation before being pressed into French oak, of which 23% is new. The finished wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This Zinfandel really gets your attention with its very compelling expression of briary, dark raspberry coulis. Ripe, but smooth and polished with a tapered finish of finely integrated tannin. Nuances of orange zest and wood spices.
“The 2020 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard is more brooding, with pine, fresh black plum, and baking spice. The palate is ripe with brambly mixed berries, warming alcohol, and fine tannins that emerge. Allow another year in bottle or so and enjoy 2023-2034.” – 95 points, Jeb Dunnuck
“Impeccably built and sleekly styled, with expressive black cherry and plum flavors that are accented by cinnamon and other baking spices, plus hints of orange zest and pepper. Drink now through 2031. 735 cases made.” – 94 points, Wine Spectator