My memory still holds dear the first attempt I ever made to acquire a wine from Carlisle Winery. It was their 2007 Syrah Papa’s Block. I was so anxious to get ahold of the wine. I remember reading about the 98 Point Review that Wine Spectator had given it. It was also, I believe, the last time any wine was offered in Illinois from Carlisle in a retail establishment.
My love for Syrah is deep and long-lived. If you haven’t had wines from Carlisle, maybe you’ve heard the name of the owner/winemaker, Mike Officer? Either way, if you haven’t tried any of the wines, you are missing out, big time!
That was my intro to the winery. Since then it is one of only a handful of wineries that I am a member. Trying to pick and choose each release, what wines I should opt for. Not an easy decision.
That brings us to this “Wine-Sum-Mor.” The 2014 Carlisle Winery Napa Valley "Palisades Vineyard" Petite Sirah. The Palisades Vineyard, just north and east of Calistoga under the majestic Palisades cliffs is one of the very few vineyards left in Napa Valley still producing Petit Sirah. The vines used in this bottling are right around 50 years old (oh how I wish I was ONLY 50!). Anyway, with scores hovering all around the 95 Point area, it was about time to pop the cork on this beauty and take it for a spin around the dinner plate (lame, I know).
The wine, however, was miraculous. Deep, almost black wine with dark fruit aromas lifting from the glass. On the palate you sense the full-bodied wine caressing the inside of your mouth, Blackberry fruit with supportive tannins that carry the wine and leave that sense of pleasure remaining endlessly, allowing you to savor the nuances of each sip. I feel that this wine can last many more years, glad I still have some left.
Focusing originally on Zinfandel and Rhone Varietals, Mike has since expanded the line and the various vineyards from which he now sources the grapes. As I mentioned, when allocation time comes, it pushes me to the limit of what to buy. Outside the winery, a quick search shows some of the wines may be available through wine shops, but do yourself a favor, and just get on their members-only list.