I’ll just briefly summarize the 2014s. It was the earliest vintage ever for Mike Officer and probably he’ll beat that early harvest record in 2015. In this case, he was finished by October 6, which was a first, and it will be interesting to see if he eclipses that in 2015, which was looking even earlier. The production levels were relatively abundant for Mike Officer and the wines fruit-forward, although softer and less reserved than some of the 2013s. While not quite as opaque in color, they are loaded with fruit, supple and luscious. The only white wine, the Grüner Veltliner Steiner Vineyard, makes an appearance in 2014, and it’s another beauty – it’s crisp and the only wine in bottle. The other wines all stood out and will, no doubt, merit outstanding ratings across the board for their intensity, richness, and full-bodied power. If you already know what Mike Officer does, and the style of his wines, you won’t be disappointed in his 2014s. You may even like them as much as any vintage, given the fact that this year shows a lot of up-front fruit and charm. (RP)
The 2014 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch is the biggest of Carlisle's three Russian River Zinfandels. The Montafi is marked by a distinctive eucalyptus note, a core of huge, jammy fruit and striking inner perfume. Exotic and ample in all of its facets, the Montafi Ranch is without question one of the most expressive wines in this lineup. Montafi is planted with approximately 87% Zinfandel and 13% Mixed Blacks. Proprietor Mike Carlisle and his longtime winemaker/viticulturist Jay Maddox excel with Zinfandel and Mixed Blacks bottlings from a number of historic sites, most of them scattered throughout Sonoma County. Officer describes 2014 as a vintage with lower alcohols than normal and stable weather through the end of the season, which allowed for harvesting at a leisurely pace. The 2014s are gorgeous across the board. In keeping with the style of the year, the Zinfandel-based wines are aromatically bright and focused. As always, Carlisle delivers exceptional value, something that is so rare today. (AG)
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