2012 Carlisle "Papera Ranch" Russian River Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1183450 93-95 points Vinous

 A dollop of Carignane seems to give the 2012 Zinfandel Papera Ranch gorgeous aromatic lift to play off the wine's deep layers of fruit. Silky tannins support sweet red fruit, flowers, spices and licorice in a sexy Zinfandel that should drink beautifully right out of the gate. The blend is 96% Zinfandel and 4% Carignane. I tasted a stunning range of wines during my recent visit to Carlisle. Proprietor Mike Officer and his winemaker/viticulturist Jay Maddox have recently moved into a new, barn-like winery in Windsor stacked to the ceiling with barrels. Carlisle specializes in old-vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrahs, most of which come from old-vine, heritage sites planted by Italian immigrants going back to the late 1800s. (AG)  (2/2014)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of the larger cuvées (658 cases), the stunning 2012 Zinfandel Papera Ranch (96% Zinfandel and 4% Carignane) comes from a vineyard planted in 1934. It was aged in 25% new French oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Copious notes of sweet black raspberries, kirsch, lavender, licorice and a touch of oak are present in this full-bodied, nicely proportioned Zinfandel that builds incrementally, and has a broad, savory texture as well as impressive purity. Drink this beauty over the next decade or more. (RP)  (12/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (includes 4% carignane; 15.4% alcohol): Inky purple. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes black and blue fruit liqueur, incense and candied flowers, with an intense spicy overtone. Sappy, incisive and pure, offering densely packed boysenberry and cassis flavors sharpened by juicy acidity. Weighty and seamless in texture, finishing with excellent clarity and smooth, slow-building tannins. This substantial zin would be great with braised red meats.  (6/2014)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Supple and well-structured, with a succulent core of fruit. Floral boysenberry and licorice aromas lean toward sleekly jammy flavors of blueberry, cherry, brown baking spices and pepper. (Web Only-2015)

Wine Enthusiast

 The site was planted in 1934 to mostly Zinfandel, and not much in the way of Mixed Blacks, which was unusual for the time. This wine is somewhat sanguine, a concoction of red berries, baked strawberries and plum that's soft and weighty, with a streak of elegance. Almost ripped out for Pinot Noir, the vineyard holds on, thanks to this producer and a handful of others. Enjoy through 2022. *Cellar Selection* (VB)  (5/2015)

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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 Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.4