2012 Carlisle "Sierra Mar" Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah

SKU #1167617 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Harvested toward the middle of October and 70% destemmed, the 2012 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard spent 16 months in 23% new French oak prior to bottling. It has a more broad, textured and full-bodied profile than the Rosella's and knocks it out of the park with its black raspberry, cassis, violets, licorice and crushed flower nuances on the nose. Beautifully concentrated with ripe, sweet tannin, it's another superb Syrah from this estate that will have 8-10 years of overall longevity.  (10/2014)

92-94 points Vinous

 In this context, the 2012 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard comes across as raw and not fully formed. All the elements are present, but not yet integrated. In particular, the 2012 presents expressive aromatics and gorgeous overall persistence, both of which make me hopeful for the future. There is a lot of potential here, but readers need to be patient.  (2/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (vinified with 30% whole clusters; 15.8% alcohol): Glass-staining purple. Powerful aromas of dark berry liqueur, licorice, violet and peppery spices, with a hint of fruitcake in the background. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering densely packed blueberry and cassis flavors sharpened by juicy acidity. Finishes sweet and very long, with velvety tannins sneaking in late. No shortage of fruit intensity here.  (6/2014)

Wine Spectator

 Firm and well-structured, with lively acidity and tannins wrapped around a core of earth- and mineral-laced dark berry and dried herb flavors. Needs time. Best from 2015 through 2025. 201 cases made. (Web Only - 2014)

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Price: $49.99
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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

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:

Santa Lucia Highlands