2015 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $44.94 (Online Avg. $50)
"Brilliant winemaking, a highly committed proprietor, and extraordinarily fair prices make Carlisle a no-brainer for wine consumers looking for fun." - Robert Parker
The union of Papera Ranch, one of California’s great old-vine Zinfandel sites, and Carlisle, California’s most collectible artisanal Zinfandel producer, is pretty much a match made in wine heaven. Few producers succeed as well as Carlisle’s Mike Officer at expressing such distinctive site-specific qualities in a crowd-pleasing Zinfandel, and Antonio Galloni recently wrote, "I would be thrilled to drink any of these wines any day of the week.” Even when Carlisle’s case production hits 1,000 most of the wine is snapped up by mailing list and restaurant buyers, and every time we have offered one of Carlisle’s inimitable Zins they don’t last very long!
Planted in 1934, Papera Ranch is like most California heritage vineyards a Zinfandel-dominant site, though Carlisle’s bottling includes a dollop of Carignan with the Zinfandel. The 2015 Papera shows “evocative cherry, smoky mint and pepper flavors” (Wine Spectator, 94pts), alongside the vibrant dark plummy fruits. Parker has praised Mike Officer as one of the top producers of Zinfandel, describing his single-vineyard Zins as “never over the top, revealing tremendous textures, aromatics, and ripeness.”
Since the late 1990s, Carlisle has become one of California’s most important Zinfandel producers. His advocacy of old-vine vineyards has contributed to renewed interest in unique sites like Papera. Per Parker, if you “don’t think terroir exists in California” you “should check out the Carlisle Zinfandels.”
Give this California beauty just a couple years to unfurl if you can and enjoy over the following decade!