Calera's 2009 Pinot was named "the single finest value in American Pinot Noir" by The Wine Advocate, and ranked at the top of my personal Top Ten of wines I enjoyed last year.
To top that, the 2010 vintage scored 93 points from the Wine Spectator, the ONLY California Pinot Noir in 20 years to score that high and sell for under $25. We blew through 22 cases in about 6 hours, and with that the wine was gone from the market, sold out across the country.
The new vintage arrived at the end of September, and I've struggled to let it rest before sampling...and this morning I gave in. The verdict: Calera strikes again! But act fast, because this time I doubt this wine will hang around long enough for the critics to weigh in:
Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast 2011 - $23.99 net - No review yet - '10 was 93 pts Wine Spectator / '09 was 92 pts Wine Advocate
Vintage Note: "2011 was a Cinderella year - full of challenges but with a storybook ending." (WS) It started with a late frost that reduced yields as much as 75% below normal! A cool summer had the grapes struggling for ripeness, then September rains resulted in botrytis that further reduced yields. Then October came, and the weather turned dry and stayed warm, allowing for slow, even ripening of the remaining crop. The result? Extremely pure, bright flavors, better than even the stellar 2010 vintage... but there is just not a lot of it.
The last two vintages have left a ton of folks asking for more of this wine, and once again I don't think this is going to last very long. Calera has been on a roll, making arguably the finest Pinot Noirs in California, here's your chance to get some before its gone!
What I find particularly compelling is how Josh Jensen, founder of Calera and California legend, manages to combine luscious fruit with a nod to Burgundian stylings of earth and minerality. His commitment to balance is such that he is a founding member of In Pursuit of Balance, whom we've been mentioning quite a bit lately.
You could scroll through those emails of ours, or you could just drink the Poster Child for these wines this weekend!
Tons of dark, fresh berry fruits come right away- with pomegranate, red and black raspberry, and juicy black cherry at the fore. After the initial explosion, more subtle nuances of purple flowers and baking spices, cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice, waft forth and mingle.
10% new oak adds a bit of sandalwood spice, but the bulk of the wine is raised in used and neutral oak keeping the palate juicy and refreshing, with more black raspberry, pomegranate, cranberry, and tart cherry fruit.
Balancing it all is Pinot Noir's ancestral side (Burgundy) - offering a "forest floor" earthiness, vibrant acidity and a savory mouthfeel. Jensen uses native yeasts here, which emphasize the unique terroir of the vineyards - mostly from Santa Clara, San Luis Obispo, and Monteray Counties - and result in more complex juice with that sense of umami I love.
Please reply to order, we have a limited amount arriving today and more coming in next week.