One of the outstanding producers of Central Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Calera have a long history in California wine, dating back to the 1970s. In the early 1970s Calera founder Josh Jensen was exploring Europe, and decided to work a harvest at famed winery Romanée-Conti. Josh was inspired to make great Pinot Noir in California and 1974, he purchased land located on steep slopes of Mount Harlan, a 3,278-foot peak in the Gavilan Mountains that divide Monterey and San Benito counties. Josh founded Calera in 1975 and planted his three estate vineyards: Jensen, Reed and Selleck. Josh achieved incredible critical acclaim for his Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
Two years ago Calera was sold to the Duckhorn wine group as Josh noted that Calera was his “life's work.” The winery itself is located in Hollister, and boasts sweeping views of the Diablo Mountain Range. Head winemaker Mike Waller previously worked as assistant winemaker at storied property Chalone, before coming to Calera. Mike has served as head winemaker for the past decade. While they may have new winery ownership, the quality of the wines have remained the same as the new releases by Mike Waller were gorgeous across the board. The 2016 Calera ‘Central Coast’ Chardonnay (WWB, 91) is a downright killer bargain at $25.00, showing seriously good range and a beautiful mouthfeel. All of the single vineyard Pinot Noirs showed a good combination of ripeness and earthy terroir. The 2016 Calera ‘Mills Vieyard’ Pinot Noir (WWB, 93) impresses with its freshness and forest floor aromas with dark fruit flavors. This is one for the cellar. Learn more about these outstanding new wines at https://www.calerawine.com Here are the great new releases by Calera.
2016 Calera ‘Central Coast’ Chardonnay- This outstanding new wine was sourced from Bien Nacido as well as Zabala Vineyard, and Pedregal Vineyards. The nose shows toasty oak with brioche and nutmeg, alongside toasted hazelnut aromatics that fill the glass. The palate shows a creamy texture and ripe mouthfeel with a good combination of melon and citrus fruit flavors that connect with bright minerality. Drink 2019-2023- 91
2016 Calera ‘Central Coast’ Pinot Noir- Sourced from Gary’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands as well as Solomon Hills Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley and Laetitia Vineyard as well, this bold Pinot Noir opens with a bouquet of cherry cola, with cran-orange and sassafras notes. The palate shows good acidity and weight with downright delicious cola, black cherry compote and Mandarin orange zest flavors. Quite forward now, this will continue to cellar well over the next five plus years. Drink 2019-2024- 92
2015 Calera ‘Selleck Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Selleck Vineyard’ is a tiny, 4.8 acre plot planted to Pinot Noir vines first planted in 1978. Teaberry and cranberry show nice astringency on the nose with milder earthy tones coming into play. The palate shows good freshness and intensity with forest floor that connect with decadent black fruits like black currant, black raspberry puree and cola. A strikingly novel bottling, this beautiful wine will continue to evolve well for the next fifteen years. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2015 Calera ‘Mills Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- The ‘Mills Vineyard’ was aged for 17 months in 100% French oak prior to bottling. Vines at the vineyard were first planted in 1984. The ‘Mills Vineyard’ Pinot Noir starts off with a whiff of dark cherry with pomegranate seed and peat moss with forest floor aromas. I really like the freshness here as the wine shows a rich combination of red and dark fruits that connect with the minerality. A long-ager, this brilliant wine is best enjoyed over the next fifteen years. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2015 Calera ‘Ryan Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- Located on Mt. Harlan, the Ryan Vineyard is set at 2500 feet. The nose displays a nice salinity with white pepper, diatomaceous earth and cran-cherry aromas that build in the glass. The palate shows a rich mouthfeel, followed by wild blackberry, black tea, red cherry candy and cran-pomegranate. Outstanding and highly balanced, this will have a long life in the cellar. Drink 2019-2033- 93