“This is no ordinary Petite Sirah”
At the northern end of Napa Valley, winemakers in Calistoga turn out big, bold, red wines from the warmest section of the Valley where ripeness reigns supreme. Some of the finest bottlings aren’t even made from Cabernet Sauvignon.
For the better part of the last decade, Mike Officer of Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa has released a plush and polished Calistoga Petite Sirah from the highly regarded Palisades Vineyard — a stone’s throw from Calistoga’s quaint Lincoln Avenue. Of the handful of artisan wineries with access to this historic vineyard — Robert Biale Vineyards and Mending Wall among them — Officer and his Carlisle team work from the oldest block, where the gnarled Petite Sirah vines top out at nearly 70 years of age.
Officer considers this block of Palisades to be the finest old-vine Petite Sirah grown in California. As president of the Historic Vineyard Society, he brings more than a little authority to the table. And we’re happy to follow the lead of this heritage-vine guardian, being the dedicated fans we are of the old-vine California field blends that liven up a cellar. But without question, amidst the crown of rich, complex Petite Sirah created each year at Palisades, Carlisle’s is the burnished, black jewel.
From our experience, Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non and Tegan Passalacqua at Turley Cellars are two of California’s Petite Sirah masters. But we have a special regard for Carlisle’s proprietor — and Robert Parker agrees. The critic reveres the “personality-filled Michael Officer and his beloved Carlisle Winery” for the “exuberant … stunningly fruity, and outright beautiful wines” he makes from historic vineyards like Palisades.
The 2015 growing season saw California’s fourth year of drought, a tough time for farmers but a boon for grape growers, particularly in the largely dry-farmed Calistoga AVA. Palisades’ deep-penetrating Petite Sirah vines produced a small crop of fruit with massive sugar and flavor concentration. Even for Mike Officer, with a string of blockbusters from Palisades to his name, the results were impressive.
Deep purple to nearly opaque out of the bottle, the 2015 Carlisle Palisades Vineyard Petite Sirah offers dense aromas of blackberry liqueur, cola, and clove spice that open up with air into a rich, almost Port-like bouquet. The attack is classic Palisades Petite Sirah: silky, integrated tannins giving way to an explosion of primary purple-black fruit. Bright, brambly flavors of black cherry and blueberry evolve in the glass into a long, blackberry liqueur-infused finish. The balance of richness and structure in this Palisades bottling is simply stunning.
Parker awarded this 2015 Carlisle “Palisades” 91-94 points out of barrel — “Another monster in the making.” The most influential wine critic of our time predicted this blockbuster of a Petite Sirah should age well for at least 30 years — and as many as 50!
Petite Sirah enthusiasts and collectors seeking an alternative Napa Valley red wine need look no further. Mike Officer’s streak of successful vintages from one of Calistoga’s most historic vineyards continues in today’s offer. WineAccess has carved out a precious 50-case allocation of this polished black-fruited gem — just $44.95, with shipping included on 4. Enjoy.