2011 Carlisle Sonoma County Zinfandel

SKU #1128085 89-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Zinfandel is a screaming value. Sweet, layered and impeccably balanced, the 2011 is gorgeous from the very first taste. Hints of sweet tobacco, cedar, licorice and dark red cherries all take shape in the glass. This mid-weight, gracious Zinfandel is impeccable. Even better, it is a steal. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.  (4/2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (made from fruit grown in 5 vineyards: 3 in the Russian River Valley, 2 in Sonoma Valley and 1 in Sonoma County): Bright ruby. Vibrant raspberry and candied cherry on the nose, with appealing spiciness and a hint of fresh rose. Energetic and focused, offering brisk red berry flavors and a touch of anise that builds with air. Finishes with very good precision and length, leaving a spicy note behind. This is a great introduction to the Carlisle wines at a gentle price.  (6/2013)

K&L Notes

Get in on a great Zin producer at a nice price, to start. Antonio Galloni, writing in the Wine Advocate, concurs with our point of view on the matter: "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."

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Price: $34.99
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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:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.9