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Calera Mt. Harlan Ryan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009

Pinot Noir from Central Coast, California
  • W&S94
  • RP93
  • WE90
14.1% ABV
  • V92
  • RP95
  • WE92
  • RP94
  • WW93
  • WS93
  • RP93
  • V92
  • WE90
  • RP94
  • RP91
  • RP93
  • W&S94
  • RP90
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14.1% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This stately 2009 Ryan vineyard Pinot Noir displays a rich, elegant and distinct bouquet of black currant, blackberry bramble, flinty mineral and dried fennel. This wine is lush but restrained with nice fine-grained tannins, wonderful forest characters, slight anise, a hint of toast and deep berry fruit. Truly Mt Harlan; classic Ryan Vineyard.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
The vines in the upper block of Ryan, rising to 2,500 feet, are just settling in. Jim Ryan, Calera's vineyard manager, planted it in 1998 at a higher density than Calera’s other sites, most of which date to 1975. At first, this wine appears to be a big, extracted fruit bomb until, hours later, the tannins begin to breathe and the texture broadens, the fruit filling in the tannins on the sides of the mouth. A day later, the tannins and fruit have merged back into the middle of the wine, focused on dark, mineral intensity, on scents of smoke and earth, carrying plenty of extract within a pinot noir frame. While this may seem like a stylistic departure for Calera, it could also be read as a youthful interpretation of the Mount Harlan site. It's formidable and delicious in any case, especially if decanted for roast duck.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard shows off layers of sweet tobacco, crushed flowers, leather, spices and dried cherries. The 100% whole clusters come through on the saline, floral-infused finish. Bottle age should help the stems to integrate and the tannins to soften. Ryan is Calera's highest altitude site. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
In its youth, this wine is tightly wound and austere, despite a wealth of ripe cherry fruit. The acidity and tannins wrap it up in a concealing cloak of dry astringency. But it has the inherent balance to age over the next 10 years, gradually softening and mellowing.
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Calera

Calera

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Calera, Central Coast, 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.

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.

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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.

RWC421783_2009 Item# 117218