Carlisle 'Papera Ranch' Zinfandel 2014
I’ll just briefly summarize the 2014s. It was the earliest vintage ever for Mike Officer and probably he’ll beat that early harvest record in 2015. In this case, he was finished by October 6, which was a first, and it will be interesting to see if he eclipses that in 2015, which was looking even earlier. The production levels were relatively abundant for Mike Officer and the wines fruit-forward, although softer and less reserved than some of the 2013s. While not quite as opaque in color, they are loaded with fruit, supple and luscious. The only white wine, the Grüner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard, makes an appearance in 2014, and it’s another beauty – it’s crisp and the only wine in bottle. The other wines all stood out and will, no doubt, merit outstanding ratings across the board for their intensity, richness, and full-bodied power. If you already know what Mike Officer does, and the style of his wines, you won’t be disappointed in his 2014s. You may even like them as much as any vintage, given the fact that this year shows a lot of up-front fruit and charm.
The personality-filled Michael Officer and his beloved Carlisle Winery & Vineyards continues to turn out a gorgeous portfolio of exuberant, lovingly made, stunningly fruity and outright beautiful wines from historic vineyards and iconic grapes that, until the last generation or so, had tended to be forgotten in the early days of California winedom, after the repeal of Prohibition. Of course, that’s no longer the case, and thanks to people such as Larry Turley in Napa and Morgan Twain-Peterson, Mike Officer and Don Hartford – all Sonoma County vignerons – the preservation and exploitation of great, old-vine, dry-farmed, head-pruned vineyards is assured. Carlisle’s 2013s are spectacular, as one would expect, and at the end of these notes I quickly summarize his beautiful 2014s, which are probably going to be even fruitier and much more approachable once in bottle than his more concentrated and profound 2013s. Tel. (707) 566-7700; www.carlislewinery.com