Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel 2016
Blend: 89% Zinfandel, 11% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Aubun, Grand Noir, Petite Sirah, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Syrah, Petit Bouschet, Cinsault)
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The two blocks at Montafi Ranch where this wine grows are mostly zinfandel (89 percent), mixed with varieties including alicante bouchet, grand noir, petite sirah, trousseau noir and cinsault. They combine in a muscular wine, a big bruiser that tends to its alcohol with rocky tannins, both components wrapped into a dark raspberry flavor. Drink it now with braised short ribs if you enjoy powerful zins, or leave it to mellow for ten years in the cellar.
Carlisle is a small “Mom n’ Pop” Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhône varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah). They also produce three delicious white wines, two of which are blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County's first ever Grüner Veltliner.
While Carlisle likes their wines to be bold and intensely flavored, each reflecting its vintage and vineyard, they also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and nuance.
The goal is always the same - grow and source the finest fruit, do as little as possible to it, and bottle outstanding, pleasurable wine at the fairest price possible.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel has secured it’s title as the darling of California vintners by adapting well to the states’ diverse microclimates and landscapes. Born in Croatia, it later made its way to southern Italy where it was named Primitivo. Fortunately, the imperial nursery of Vienna catalogued specimens of the vine, which sourced a journey to New England in 1829. Parading the true American spirit, Zinfandel found a new home in California during the Gold Rush of 1849. Somm Secret—California's ancient vines of Zinfandel are those that survived the neglect of Prohibition; today these vines produce the most concentrated, ethereal and complex examples.