Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel  2016 Front Label
Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel  2016 Front LabelCarlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel  2016 Front Bottle Shot

Carlisle Montafi Ranch Zinfandel 2016

  • RP95
  • JD95
  • WS93
  • W&S91
750ML / 15% ABV
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750ML / 15% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Medium-dark to dark garnet-ruby. Noticeably darker than the 2015. Interestingly, no discernable eucalyptus aromas in this vintage. Nevertheless, still an utterly compelling nose of red cherry and raspberry highlighted by notes of sage and underbrush. On the palate, the nobility of this great site shines through. Totally seamless. Perfect finish. Hard to ask for anything more from a wine, regardless of variety. While very enjoyable now, given the harmony and balance of this wine, it should age quite well. Drink from release through 2027.

Blend: 89% Zinfandel, 11% Mixed Black Varieties (Alicante Bouschet, Aubun, Grand Noir, Petite Sirah, Peloursin, Trousseau noir, Syrah, Petit Bouschet, Cinsault)

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A blend of 89% Zinfandel mixed with about eight different other varieties, from vines planted in 1926, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch offers up a pronounced crème de cassis and blueberry pie nose with touches of camphor, cardamom and dusty soil. The palate is big, rich, full and fruity with loads of earthy notions and a plush texture, finishing with great freshness.
JD 95
Jeb Dunnuck
I loved the 2016 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch, another complex blend based largely on Zinfandel. Fresh plums, blueberries, violets, and fresh flower notes all give way to a plump, rounded, beautifully textured effort from Mike that never puts a foot wrong. Shining for its elegance and purity, yet still packing rocking levels of fruit, drink it over the coming decade or more.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Dynamic and appealingly briary, with plush raspberry, bay leaf and orange peel flavors that build richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2024.
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits

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.

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Carlisle

Carlisle

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Carlisle, California
Carlisle Winery Image
Carlisle is a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah). They have also recently added their first whites, two blends from historic, old-vine vineyards plus Sonoma County's first ever Grüner Veltliner. While they like their wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, they also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.

Carlisle's goal is always the same - grow and source outstanding fruit, do as little as possible to it, and bottle outstanding, pleasurable wine at the fairest price possible.

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Russian River Valley Wine

Sonoma County, California

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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.

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Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. In fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.

Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.

Tasting Notes for Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a dry red wine, though typically forward in fruit. Notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice are common. Very ripe examples may express a dried fruit quakity like fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often shows red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics like juniper and menthol.

Perfect Food Pairings for Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.

Sommelier Secrets for Zinfandel

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.

PSLCCA118_2016 Item# 434684

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