2011 Carlisle "Carlisle Vineyard" Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard is plush, rich and inviting. All sorts of black fruits, smoke, tar and graphite flesh out in this supple, deeply expressive wine. In 2011 the Carlisle is notable for its lush, rich, totally inviting personality. At the same time, it has fabulous detail and nuance for such a big, explosive wine. The tannins remain firm, but there is more than enough density in the fruit to provide balance. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026. Proprietor Mike Officer arrived with a bevy of wines for our tasting, all of which I was thrilled to sample. Readers who don’t think terroir exists in California should check out the Carlisle Zinfandels and Syrahs, many of which emerge from old-vine, heritage sites that nearly disappeared until Officer and some of his peers rescued them from the brink of oblivion. In particular, the 2011 Zinfandels are fabulous...The Syrahs were all picked after the rains, while the thinner-skinned Zinfandels naturally came in quite a bit earlier. Officer told me he performed a severe selection of fruit that took with it a full 50% of the production. For his efforts, Officer has been rewarded with a set of gorgeous wines, although I imagine his faithful clientele won’t be too thrilled with the lower production levels of these wines, given their already minuscule production...Carlisle is resolute in keeping his wines affordable, a commendable approach I wish were more common throughout California.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(88% zinfandel and the rest a blend of "over 37" varieties, chiefly alicante bouschet, petite sirah, grand noir, peloursin, trousseau, tempranillo, nuscadell, malvasia and muscat; from vines that were planted in 1927; 15.8% alcohol): Inky purple. Heady scents of black raspberry, boysenberry, incense and candied violet, along with subtle notes of black pepper and olive tapenade. This smells a lot like syrah. Lush, spicy and expansive, offering powerful black and blue fruit compote flavors and exotic floral and spice qualities. Clings impressively on the youthfully tannic finish, repeating the blue fruit and floral notes.