Over the last couple months, I have worked through all of my 2014 Carlisle zins–Pagani, Carlisle and now Papera. I don’t buy them all, as I just don’t have the space anymore to buy everything Mike makes so I end up concentrating on the bottlings I like most. I still think the 2014 Pagani is about as good as zin can be, and for me maybe the best zin Mike has ever made, with the Carlisle not far behind. So last night, I opened the Papera, which is another favorite of mine. This is a killer bottle of wine, with the fruit and acidity really being the focal point of what’s in the glass. What isn’t here is oak nor over sweetness. Fruit, yes. Acidity, yes. Purity, again yes. Alcohol? A light whiff of it but it’s really managed pretty well, even with the last taste at about 70f or so. For me, there is no better zin producer in CA than what Mike is doing. I can drink Extra Brut champagne all day if I had to, and I do a lot of it now, but I keep cellar space and a desire for Mike’s zins–they do it for me. Thanks for reading.
2014 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch- USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley (7/31/2017)
Opened this yesterday and enjoyed a glass. Pushed the cork back in, threw it in the fridge. Retasting a day later, I really dig this stuff and it’s a reinforcer as to why I continue to buy the Carlisle zins. This is listed at 15.0% ABV, and while this is higher than most wines I buy these days, I dig Papera, along with Carlisle, Pagani and Montafi. There is squarely a place in my cellar for Mike’s zins and this 14 Papera is drinking great. Yesterday, it showed quite a bit of structure, which typically I absorb pretty well but even I noticed the tannin. Aromatics of fresh berry, with a tinge of heat (which doesn’t show when the wine is served with a little chill). At this stage, this is plump and juicy, showing a river rock kind of thing, which isn’t something I get in zin very often–quite unique and cool. This is inky too, with a dark blueberry/raspberry, with a blackberry purity mixing with the acidity and structure. This remains coiled, yet the pure berry flavors in the core of this wine are terrific. Finishes with some licorice, and dark berry skin/tannin. This is beautiful old vine CA zin, one that is going to improve and meld together with some more time but I have no regrets in opening this now.
Frank - I really appreciate this note. I am a huge fan of Mike and Carlisle zin, and Papera could be my favorite too. But what I love about your note is the refreshing openness to a style of wine that is outside your normal “go-to” these days, yet remains something you still derive pleasure from and are happy to say so. Well done!
The Carlisle 2015 Papera is an insanely good Carlisle; based on a tasting from the bottle three months ago, it may be near the apex of Carlisle zins, including the legendary 2001 Gum Tree, which was my first exposure to Carlisle. Anyone who loves Carlisle should not for a minute consider passing on the 2015 Papera–the only question IMO is whether one should buy more or less than a case.
If I have not mentioned it previously, the Papera Vineyard is my overall favorite Carlisle wine (although the 2012 Saitone Vineyard really blew me away).
Finances being what they are, I had to limit my most recent order to two bottles. It just seemed a shame to go on without having tried some other single-vineyard reds from Mr Officer. I bought the Pagani and the Carlisle Vineyard wines, so at least one of my choices is from the Piner/Olivet area.