2007 Carlisle Syrahs

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SOMETHING SPECIAL
I am not able to recall specific dates as easily as my colleague, Pete, but I am pretty sure the last year I attended a ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) tasting was back in ’97. It was the first time I was made aware of a table that sampled wines that had been entered into competition for home winemakers. My strategy at these big events is to always ask people I know what shouldn’t I miss tasting? Strangely, the answer that came back time after time that year was not Turley, Ridge, or Biale, but “you’ve got to try that Carlisle wine on the home winemaker’s table”. I did and WOW what a triumph. The name Carlisle did not ring a bell, but the winemaker, Mike Officer, did. Mike was a Wine House customer who was known to purchase a bottle of Rhone, or two. I remember cornering Mike, asking him to promise to offer his wines to the Wine House if he ever starts to sell his wines commercially. Sure enough, 1998 was the first commercial release for Carlisle and the first to grace the shelves at the Wine House. Since then I’ve witnessed the evolution of Carlisle wines from little known and well regarded to now considered one of California’s premier producer of top quality zinfandels and syrahs. Carlisle wines generate a lot of excitement and anticipation each year. Sourcing fruit from some of California’s oldest and best placed vineyards ensures the quality of fruit, but it’s the finished wine that entices the palate. Carlisle wines are not shy or restrained by any means. That being said, all the while remaining deeply fruited, rich and concentrated, Mike is able to achieve in his wines complexity of flavor and maintain balance. Anya Balistreri
2007 Carlisle Winery Syrah Russian River Valley
Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Sonoma;
$24.98
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Winery Tasting Note: Opaque purple. Even the bubbles are black. Concentrated, brooding aromas of blackberry, acacia flower, graphite, and peppery spice. What a sniff! On the palate, totally seamless with impeccable balance. Served blind, many knowledgeable wine drinkers might guess Crozes-Hermitage. While enjoyable now with a good decanting, peak drinking should be between 2010 through 2016.
2007 Carlisle Winery Syrah Dry Creek Valley
Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Sonoma;
$32.98
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Winery Tasting Note: Black ruby-purple. A perfumed nose of blackberry, cassis, and spring flowers (the viognier perhaps?) emerges from the glass. Full-bodied but like a welterweight champion, light on its feet thanks to healthy acidity and refreshing tannins on the finish. Drink this refined but authoritative syrah from 2012 through 2020.
2007 Carlisle Winery Syrah Papa’s Block Russian River Valley
Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Sonoma;
$42.98
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Winery Tasting Note: An opaque black-purple core leads to a deep ruby rim. Head-turning aromas of mulberry, black olive, licorice, and violets titillate the senses. On the palate, full-bodied but smooth as silk. Nary a rough edge to be found. Enjoy this hedonistic wine (and raise a glass to Papa!) from release through 2014.Parker’s notes: Bigger, richer, and fuller is the 2007 Syrah Papa’s Block, a gorgeous, full-bodied effort displaying roasted coffee, blackberry, acacia flower, licorice, and dark raspberry characteristics. This full-bodied, dense, chewy, smooth-as-silk Syrah will provide superb drinking over the next 8-9 years. WINE ADVOCATE (92-94PTS.)
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