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2003 Calera Pinot Noir, Ryan Vineyard, Mt. Harlan, Central Coast - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 12-14-2006 09:21 PM

"In 1998 Josh Jensen, founder of Calera Wine Company planted a brand-new Pinot Noir vineyard on Mt. Harlan, named Ryan, after Jim Ryan, Calera's vineyard manager since 1979. Its vines extend up to 2500 feet, making them among the highest elevation vineyards in California's central zone.

These vineyards' special terroirs derive from the very cool climate, the low annual rainfall averaging only 15 inches per year, and, most importantly, a highly pure limestone soil-all combining to produce very small crop yields that have averaged a miniscule 1 1/2 tons per acres over the course of many years."--press release

Jensen founded his winery in 1975 in the Gavilan Mountain range. The unique Mt. Harlan AVA is in San Benito County, 25 miles inland from Monterey. In addition to the vineyard designated Pinot Noirs, Calera produces a Mt. Harlan Chardonnay and Viognier, as well as a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay designated "CentralCoast."

I happened to stop at Zely & Ritz Restaurant in Raleigh to pick up the Elyse wines I had ordered at the dinner while a tasting of this Pinot Noir was being held for the staff and they invited me to partake in the tasting. The wine was a strawberry color and exhibited a refined taste with light spices backing up deep red berry flavors. It showed some depth and elegance. Alas, it won't be available among their wines by the glass and the restaurant price for a bottle will be $72. 2003 was the second release of the Ryan Vineyard Pinot and it is available from the winery for $40 a bottle. Lovely wine--I just wish the price were somewhat less.