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Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir (375ML half-bottle) 2016

Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
  • WW91
14.1% ABV
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

After five years of drought, we welcomed a return to normal winter rainfall in 2016. These early season rains replenished the vineyards to begin a near-ideal growing season. After a warm spring led to an early budbreak, summer seemed to arrive quickly on the Central Coast. While we had abundant warmth in July and August, cool evenings allowed the grapes to mature perfectly, and harvest commenced in mid-August. While the grapes were small and dense, good-sized clusters delivered yields close to our annual averages. As a result, our 2016 Pinot Noirs are beautifully balanced, yet intense, while our Chardonnays are bright, crisp and flavorful.

Crafted using grapes from a handful of the finest vineyards on the Central Coast, this alluring wine offers lovely aromatics, soft, velvety tannins, and vibrant fruit. On the palate, layers of Bing cherry, wild strawberry, and sassafras are underscored by hints of white pepper and baking spices that add nuance and complexity to a long, lush finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 91
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
COMMENTARY: When I first met Josh Jensen in the early 1980s and tasted his single vineyard 1978 Calera Pinot Noirs—the wines were only bottled in 375 ml bottles—I thought I had found the Holy Grail—a longtime term used by wine guys when one comes across an incredible Pinot Noir. Since then, I have always been on the lookout for these wines. The 2016 Calera Pinot Noir, though not a single vineyard, is emblematic of how special Josh's work has been. TASTING NOTES: This wine is flavorful and balanced. Its aromas and flavors of pure red fruit, savory spices, and brown stems are the real things when it comes to this grape variety. Pair it with a crown roast of lamb and enjoy. (Tasted: October 17, 2018, San Francisco, CA)
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Calera

Calera

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Calera, California
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Calera is a small ultra-premium winery located in the limestone-rich Gavilan Mountains, east of Monterey and south of Hollister, California. Josh Jensen planted Calera's first 23 acres of Pinot Noir in 1975. An additional 26.6 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Viognier were planted in the 1980s, and 33 more acres, mostly Pinot Noir but also some additional Chardonnay, in 1997 and 1998. All these parces are in the Mt. Harlan AVA that was created in 1990. Calera produces 8 single-vineyard wines from Mt. Harlan, as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from grapes purchased from selected vineyards in the Central Coast regions.
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Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

DWCCL16CCP3_2016 Item# 514106