Sitting down with Carl Bowker, he talked about his unique winemaking style, showcasing wonderful richness with tension in the bottle. During the Hospice du Rhone festival I was able to spend some time picking his brain and chatting wine. I have seen his winemaking evolve in the past few years to increasing the level of minerality, despite being faced with several uber-hot vintages in Paso Robles which is not an easy feat. He is producing some truly great wines that show a more unique side of the region as these wines provide wonderful intrigue.
Spanish for “limestone" Caliza has a 20-acre vineyard largely set on limestone soils. The vineyard is predominantly comprised of hillsides with south-facing slopes which leads to maximum sun exposure. Set at 900-1200 feet above sea level in Templeton Gap area, the vineyard faces strong diurnal shifts which creates some nice tension in the wines. It is clear that planting so high has really helped the wines, particularly in the recent hot vintages.
Founded by Carl and Pam Bowker, Caliza’s vineyard was planted near L’Aventure and Booker which has proven to be a really good investment. Carl Bowker graduated from Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology associate program in 2004. He has emerged as one of the regions great winemakers. Check out the 2017 Caliza ‘Pink’ Rose (WWB, 90) which shows wonderful complexity and range. This is a gorgeous summer sipper. The 2014 Caliza ‘Cohort’ Red Wine (WWB, 93) is a downright stunner, showing wonderful richness, intensity and range. This intense wine will cellar marvelously over the next decade. Learn more about this great Paso Robles winery at https://www.calizawinery.com Here are the excellent new wines by Caliza.
2017 Caliza ‘Pink’ Rose- An intriguing blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise, this starts off with a bouquet of wild strawberry, red cherry candy and a touch of thyme. The palate is rich and shows a good tension with red fruits mingling with citrus rind. This delightful Rose has a marvelous texture and shows good richness. Drink 2018-2022- 90
2017 Caliza ‘Kissin Cousins’ White Wine- The ‘Kissin Cousins’ is a blend of largely Grenache and Roussanne with a smaller portion Grenache Blanc. Cantaloupe, beeswax and honey mark the nose. The palate is viscous and shows really good richness. Ripe honeydew melon, starfruit and Pink Lady apple flavors persist on the palate. This is truly a standout white blend from Paso. Drink 2018-2024- 92
2014 Caliza ‘Companion’ Red Wine- The ‘Companion’ is one you’d like to have by your side, largely Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This inky colored wine starts off with creme de cassis, mocha, and tar. The palate shows a good combination of weight and tension, with black fruits parading with dark chocolate shavings and strong minerality. Deep and delicious, this is an outstanding effort by Caliza. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2014 Caliza ‘Cohort’ Red Wine- A glass-staining purple, this wine is largely Petite Syrah and Syrah based. Blue fruits connect with blackberry and milk chocolate on the palate. The silky texture here is really outstanding, as is the deep and layered dark and blue fruit flavors that sit alongside some good tension. Distinctly Paso Robles, this outstanding wine will cellar well over the next decade but is nearly impossible to resist right now. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2014 Caliza ‘Sympatico’ Red Wine- The ‘Sympatico’ is a blend of Tempranillo (76%), Grenache (12%) and Monastrell (12%). Earthy and dark fruit tones dominate the nose. The palate shows really good weight and balance, with roasted fig, milk chocolate covered cherry and allspice flavors wonderfully combining together. As this builds in the glass and gets more air, it becomes even more difficult to put down. This is just an awesome red blend by the talented Carl Bowker. Drink 2018-2028- 93