Available in short supply at Fairview Heights
Carlisle Winery is a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).
Says the winemaker: “While we like our wines to be bold and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and nuance. Our goal is always the same – grow and source outstanding fruit, do as little as possible to it, and bottle outstanding, pleasurable wine.”
2009 Russian River Valley Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard… $34.99
After the devastating frost of 2008, yields of these 82-year-old vines bounced back nicely in 2009 to 1.6 tons to the acre. This was certainly one of the more nerve-racking picks of the year, finishing under stormy skies just hours before the heavens opened up. After a five-day cold soak, the must was inoculated with two different strains of yeast. Fourteen days later the wine was pressed to all French oak, 25% new. As usual, bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Tasting Note: Medium-dark to dark violet-ruby. Heady aromas of mulberry, raspberry, brier, pepper, and incense spill from the glass. Serious stuff! The wine glides smoothly across the palate with lively acidity giving delineation to the bright raspberry and Asian spice flavors. Amazingly well balanced for such a powerful wine. Carlisle Vineyard always seems to produce a wine that benefits from at least several years of aging. This rendition is no exception. Drink from 2013 through 2020.
2010 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel… $29.99
As usual, Ray Teldeschi’s “mother” block (planted pre-1900) and Rich Mounts’ “La Loma” block (planted 1950s) form the basis for this wine. But both vineyards suffered in the heat of August 24th and yields were reduced considerably. Fortunately, to make up for the loss, we were able to secure a little fruit from the Oddone Vineyard, just to the north of Ray’s ranch. Expertly farmed by one of my favorite vineyard managers, Oddone Vineyard had virtually no heat damage. In the end, we included a little of Ray’s Grenache for mid-palate texture and volume and a dash of Petite Sirah for focus and delineation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Tasting Note: Dark ruby-garnet. Beautiful aromas of black cherry and loamy, iron-laden soil greet the nose. Not as red fruit oriented as years past but also not overripe or port-like. On the palate, rich and full bodied with a delicious “pop” of Zin-berry fruit so typical of Dry Creek Zinfandels. Plenty of acidity in the finish keeps the wine lively and fresh. With ample acidity and tannin, give this bad boy some time and enjoy from 2014 through 2020.