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Josh Jensen of Calera on ArtisanVineyards.com


(posted 7/8/2009)

180 earnest wine lovers were held in rapt attention for two hours as Josh Jensen led them through a rare line up of engrossing wines from Calera. Stretching back to vintages 18 years old, the wines were a testament to the awesome stamina and complex development for which Calera wines are celebrated. Jensen possesses an elegant modesty about everything. Jensen did not mention that Calera's Chardonnay and Pinot Noir receive glowing praise year after year, that Wine & Spirits named Calera Winery of the Year for 2008, that the great pen of Marq de Villiers wrote an award winning book about Jensen's tireless hunt for the limestone rich soil that is ideal for planting to the finest root stocks of Burgundy. Jensen would rather speak of the wine in your glass, tell of the delicate methods used to make it, and share the inspiration he found while working in the Côtes d'Or at such revered sites as the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Domaine Dujac. Jensen even makes a Viognier of poised balance and wondrous breadth. To hear that Jensen once worked in Condrieu comes as no surprise. He is that special sort of man that always perceives the world around him, takes note of everything important and puts to practice all he learns.

Jensen makes remarkable wine which is why the world sings his praises. What is especially endearing is his keen sense of observation. Jensen would not say he put Calera on the map. Its core of limestone has been there from time immemorial but there is no question that he did seek it out and foster a world class array of wines from this yet unknown Mt. Harlan. Perhaps he raised the Gavilan Mountains to new heights. What Domaine de la Romanée-Conti is to the Côtes d'Or, Calera is to the United States. Here is a winery that is inextricable from the soil on which it stands. Wine and place are one. Terroir yet again trumps all the scientific tricks on which so many rely only to pale in comparison. Calera wines speak in ways few of the new world can. Enjoy a glass of Calera wine and one suddenly knows how that perfect plot of limestone land expresses all the wonders the varietal is capable of.

Featured Wines


Calera Chardonnay Central Coast 2007 
Characteristics: This 2007 Central Coast Chardonnay offers generous aromas of ripe pineapple, honeysuckle, apple and succulent lime zest. At first, the taste is reminiscent of vanilla custard and lemon chiffon, at the same time possessing a soft, fun citrus zing. It continues on with a bit of brioche, a touch of toasty oak and a full, round texture, then finishes with a silky, delicious finish.
-Winemaker's Notes
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: not available
Type: White
Price: $18.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 12
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Calera Chardonnay Mount Harlan 2004 
Characteristics: There are certainly regional differences in Chardonnays produced in the USA but the paramount definer of any individual wine is the intent of the winemaker. The delicacy of chardonnay offers a canvas onto which a winemaker can impress a wide variety of fragrances and flavours through the vinification techniques he chooses. I describe first the core fragrances and flavours then the most common nuances associated with these wines as they are made in America. Fragrances of the grape are apple and apple blossom, citrics but most often lemon and floral notes especially acacia. Winemakers can and do often impart vanilla, butter, which give a sense of intensity, and peanut brittle. The core flavours are apple again, pear, fig, melons and, once again, citrics most often grapefruit or lemon though here is mostly zest not juice. The winemaking can add texture and creaminess building the wine’s richness.
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: not available
Type: White
Price: $28.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 6
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Calera Chardonnay Mount Harlan 2006 
Characteristics: The 2006 Mt. Harlan Chardonnay has a bit of everything, alluring aromas of apples, mandarin essence and vanilla, along with a very creamy unctuous texture. It shows great balance, with well-integrated acid, just a touch of restrained oak and an abundance of the minerality typical of Mt. Harlan's limestone soils.
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: not available
Type: White
Price: $28.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 6
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Calera Pinot Noir Mills 2005 
Characteristics: Calera’s Mills Vineyard is 14 acres of gentle, south facing slope on Mt. Harlan’s typical limestone. The nose is beautifully aromatic – fresh and floral – with notes of black/cranberry and raspberry behind. The palate shows blackberry and just a hint of black cherry with a little white pepper to the lifted finish. The 2005 vintage is purportedly a very lush and rich version of Mills, but it stays quite true to its history of minerality and complexity.
-wine review by DYB, May 2009
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $50.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 6
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Calera Pinot Noir Ryan 2004 
Characteristics: A wonderful nose of sweet berry fruits, highlighting black cherries and raspberries. Showing great acids and minerality. This bottle is destined to age well for 10 years and beyond. A hint of tea leaves and sweet spices add fabulous complexity. I recommend this wine with a duck breast in a reduced red berry and Ryan sauce. – SL
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $44.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 6
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Calera Pinot Noir Ryan 2005 
Characteristics: The Ryan is both the youngest and highest altitude of the single vineyard selections from Calera. Harvested at a paltry 1.6 tons per acre, this sees 16 months in French oak. Aromas of red and black fruits (black cherry, hint of raspberry) and spice. More where that came from on the palate as well. Lots of berry, cola and exotic spices. -JL
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $44.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 6
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Calera Vin Gris 2008 
Characteristics: So beautiful; color and flavor. The nose is delicate yet intriguingly framboise nuanced and as it warms up a bright cherries note. The flavor is brilliant, with an unusually high alcohol that is not hot but adds to the lift and with the acidity makes the wine bright and invigorating! The flavor becomes the classic strawberry though I would suggest that additionally there's a sweet old balsamic nuance. Yum! This wine always sells out fast.
-wine review by LAC, April 2009
Origin: USA California - San Benito
Average Rating: not available
Type: Rose
Price: $18.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750 mL
Bottles Per Case: 12
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