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Great Wine: Carlisle Sonoma County Syrah


Inky, staining dark purple so thick no light can penetrate. Luscious, round and sweet as boysenberry preserves, there’s also flavors of cherry coke, red licorice and dark chocolate. This is classic Americana—vintage like a Ford Thunderbird, modern as a John Adams opera. Very stylish and fashionable too. American style has been defined by either casual sophistication (Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole) or romantic elegance (Vera Wang, Tom Ford). The 2013 CARLISLE Sonoma County Syrah fits into both categories. Forging its singular vision since the late 90s of producing decidedly unpopular grape varietals like Zinfandel and Syrah, the Northern California winery has carved out an identity of being iconoclastic yet aristocratic. You can point to a handful of American artists who achieve this status, like Andy Warhol or Jeff Koons. The vines that produce this romantic vision of Syrah are young and from the New World, but the winemaking is infused with Old World sense and sensibilities. This is wine, then, that straddles the aesthetics of the past and present. Which makes its appeal as timeless as painted horses bobbing up and down on a moving carousel.  –J.M.


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July 22, 2015


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