2011 Carlisle "Rossi Ranch" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1136167 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated ruby. Ripe raspberry and floral aromas are lifted by peppery spice and mineral nuances. Smooth and fleshy on the palate, offering sweet red fruit flavors that show very good energy. Lingers with impressive tenacity and soft, harmonious tannins that add focus and grip. This zin checks in at 13.8% alcohol. (ST)  (5/2013)

K&L Notes

For those of you who have been following Sonoma County old vine Zinfandel for a while, the name Rossi Ranch should ring like a dinner bell. Unfortunately, according to Carlisle, the vineyard suffered after farmer Val Rossi passed on in 2000. But new owners have been actively improving the old vineyard. It's located in the northern end of Sonoma Valley in Kenwood, just below the picturesque, forested slopes of Annadel State Park. The winemaker's tasting note: "Bright medium ruby-garnet. An intoxicating nose of cherries, earth, and what we like to call the Rossi garrigue (the aroma of the native vegetation in and around this organically farmed 101 year-old vineyard). Medium weight in body with flavors of red currants, orange rind, briar, and pepper. Damn this is a pretty wine! Sound acidity and gentle tannins emerge on the persistent finish. While drinkable now, this wine should continue to improve and develop with age."

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Price: $44.99
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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 (%): 13.8