2011 Carlisle "Carlisle Vineyard" Russian River Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1145263 92-94 points 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. (AG)  (4/2013)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 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. (ST)  (6/2013)

94 points Vinous

 The 2011 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard takes hold of all the senses and never lets up. I imagine the blend in this parcel, a classic 'mixed blacks' field blend of as many as 40 grapes, is a big reason there is so much nuance and complexity here. All the elements come together beautifully in the glass. Bright aromatics, delineated fruit and firm yet nicely integrated tannins all come together gracefully. There is little question, the 2011 Zinfandel Carlisle is the finest wine in this range today. The 2011 has come together beautifully since I tasted it from barrel last year. The blend is 88% Zinfandel and 12% mixed blacks. (AG)  (2/2014)

Wine Spectator

 Tightly wound, but with brooding dried cherry and herb aromas and smoky boysenberry, bay leaf and white pepper flavors that finish with tart acidity and minerally tannins. (TF, Web-2014)

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Price: $49.99
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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:

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 Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.7