2016 Carlisle "Piner-Olivet Ranches" Russian River Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1360672 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is a first-time blending together of three still-also-separate vineyard-designates (Papera, Carlisle, Montafi) into one cohesive harmonious wine. Hugely aromatic in fresh strawberry, cherry cola and tart fresh slices of citrus, it’s a lovely cuveé of tremendous balance and beauty. (VB)  (6/2019)

91-94 points Vinous

 An addition to this range, the 2016 Zinfandel Piner-Olivet Ranches is a blend of fruit from three sites in the Piner-Olivet district within the Russian River Valley that are also bottled individually: Papera, Carlisle and Montafi. The interplay of rich fruit and bright, salivating acidity is compelling. Deceptively medium in body, the 2016 packs a serious punch. Raspberry, blood orange and mint are all beautifully articulated in this very pretty, spirited Zinfandel. This is an absolutely gorgeous wine from Carlisle, and one of my personal favorites in the range. Don't miss it.  (4/2018)

93 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2016 Zinfandel Piner-Olivet Ranches is from Russian River sites and is 91% Zinfandel and the rest a mix of varieties. As with most of Mike’s wines, it was brought up mostly in neutral barrels and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Outstanding notes of cassis, spice box, plums, earth, and violets all give way to a plump, seamless blend that has lots of ripeness as well as charm. It's balanced and already drinking nicely yet should evolve gracefully. This beauty has a distinctly umami character that keeps you coming back to the glass.  (6/2018)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Zinfandel Piner-Olivet Ranches has intense notes of raspberry preserves, kirsch, black cherries and blood orange with wafts of sandalwood and Indian spices plus a hint of underbrush. Very big, rich and full, it is completely packed with red and black fruit preserves flavors, with a lovely velvety texture and great freshness, finishing long and perfumed. (LPB)  (6/2018)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Expressive and zesty, yet refined, with floral raspberry and blueberry flavors accented by spicy cinnamon, licorice and stony mineral notes. Drink now through 2024. (TF)  (10/2018)

K&L Notes

Winery notes: "Medium-dark ruby-garnet. Very lifted, perfumed aromas of cherries, red licorice whips, sandalwood, and blood orange. The nose provides everything you could hope for in a Russian River Valley Zinfandel. Impeccably balanced, flavors of red cherry, mulberry, and baking spices build through the mineral-laden, zesty finish. A beautiful wine but as a blend of Carlisle, Papera, and Montafi, how could it not be? Give it another year in bottle and then enjoy from 2019 through 2028. This is a wine I’ve wanted to produce for a long time! The Piner-Olivet area of the Russian River Valley is magical for Zinfandel, especially old-vine Zinfandel, and is the home to our 'Big 3' Zins – Carlisle Vineyard, Papera Ranch, and Montafi Ranch. Generally, out of respect for these incredible vineyards, we bottle them separately. But in this vintage, after assembling the final cuvées, we found ourselves left with a bit of each of them. We considered blending them with a few other components to create a Sonoma County Zinfandel but a blend of the 'Big 3' was so striking, so utterly compelling, we simply couldn’t. I’m hopeful we can make this a permanent addition to the portfolio as it beautifully showcases the special terroir of this Russian River Valley sub-region."

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Price: $39.95

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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.