2005 Carlisle "Tom Feeney Ranch" Russian River Valley Zinfandel (Previously $40)

SKU #1067878 90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2005 Zinfandel Tom Feeney Ranch, which is 89% Zinfandel and 11% mixed blacks (Alicante and Petite Sirah) tips the scales at a whopping 15.9% alcohol, so Mike Officer must have picked unbelievably late in this cool year to get that kind of maturity. The wine displays some black raspberry and cherry with some underlying soil notes as well as hints of white chocolate, pepper, and spice. (RP)  (12/2007)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Dense and concentrated, with blueberry and licorice aromas and deep blackberry, black pepper and tar flavors that finish with slightly earthy yet firm and well-structured tannins. Needs time to unwind. (JL)  (10/2007)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *One Star* There is never any doubt about where the Carlisle folks stand on the high alcohol debate that is all the rage in wine circles these days. This batch of bottlings is about as concentrated as it gets, and that is just how the winery likes it. There is simply no faulting this effort for its concentrated, sweet, berryish fruit because it is the fruit that keeps this wine in the hunt for high honors. Depth trumps heat here, and while the wine would not be a mealtime choice for our table, there are those who will be happy to pair it up with savory roasts and sausages.  (9/2007)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby. Smoky cherry and plum compote aromas with complicating notes of smoked meat, licorice and espresso. Dense and chewy, with powerful bitter cherry and dark berry flavors and an exotic hint of cocoa powder. Really muscular right now, finishing with firm tannins and a touch of cracked pepper. (ST)  (5/2007)

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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.