Josh Jensen had a singular pursuit: to find limestone soil capable of producing fine pinot noir in California. In fact, Calera’s label pays homage to the limestone kiln which still graces his Hollister Estate. While the fruit that is used in producing Calera’s El Niño and Central Coast bottlings is sourced from other growers throughout the Central Coast, all Calera pinot noir is inspired by a “traditional” approach. Wine is produced in a gravity-flow winery, often whole-cluster fermented by native yeasts and manually punched down in open-top fermentors. As nearly 60% of Calera’s production is pinot noir the lover of good pinot can rest easy that there do remain guardians of quality (and value) in this bulk-it-out age!
2001 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir presented a transparent black-cherry red to the glass. To the nose, soft cherry and raspberry fruit were deepened by subtle undertones of cola and cassis. The little oak here presented is perceived deep in the wine’s background. This pinot noir was impressive for its silk, soft tannin and balance, and refreshing with acidity both tart and quenching. Calera’s Central Coast Pinot Noir is fruit-driven, clean and integrated while remaining lean in perspective.
I believe this pinot noir preferences elegance over power offering a purity of fresh fruit that is the direct result of quality-focused winemaking. In short, this is VERY good pinot noir which leaves one asking: why can’t more wineries share such high aspirations? Highly recommended!