I adore the wines from Carlisle. Aside from my delight with the name (see previous Carlisle post here for more info on that) I like how their wines taste—and I have to admit that I’m a bit tickled to finally be on their purchasing list after waiting what seemed like, well, a while. I’m sure that there’s a story there somewhere. Perhaps more to come on that…
The mailing list pick-up event is held in Santa Rosa at the facility where Mike Officer creates these luscious wines. So it’s not exactly easy-on-the-eyes. Think industrial park here, but not one of those downtown Manhattan-style places with tons of glitz. Mainly this place is functional. Even so, and this is only our second visit so it’s hard to generalize, the event is an extremely nice experience. We went in sometimes heavy rain last Saturday, so the crowds that we noticed the first time were largely absent. I suppose that they’re hoping that next Saturday will be sunnier. Already that was pleasant for us, as we didn’t get jostled around that much by the many other also-excited Carlisle patrons.
We’re always greeted in a very friendly way by the folks who run the event. They offer gourmet pizza gratis as part of it, also nibbles of dark chocolate. These go well with the lovely syrah and zinfandels that we were able to taste on the premises. Two were in bottle and two were barrel samples. The latter were both extremely exciting though not nearly as polished as the bottled wines, much as you’d expect.
2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Sierra Mar Vineyard Syrah: This was a purple black color with aromas of blue fruit that carried over to the rich taste with mineral, some spice with a long finish and very refined tannins.
2010 Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Vineyard Zinfandel: Deep red with cherry and moss on the nose, this had ample red fruit and full body. It seemed more accessible now compared to the syrah, but that’s no surprise.
2011 Russian River Valley Montafi Ranch Zinfandel barrel sample: This was purple black in color. Hegui thought it had “an astringent smell of a barrel” but he was quick to add “the taste is good.” I liked it too. Certainly there’s a lot happening here: loads of fruit, spice, some lovely acidic sourness and some chalky flavors makes us think that this is a wine to look forward to sometime down the road.
2011 Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel barrel sample: If I understood right, this is a new source of grapes for the winemaker. I looked just now on their web site but it does not seem to have been updated yet.
Similar color to the Montafi Ranch, it had a more “twizzler” nose and could this one be even more rich? It was loaded with red and black fruit, and almost fizzed in our glass. Very exciting!
We can’t wait to come back this fall for more!