2016 Calera Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard
Calera’s Mt. Harlan Vineyards are located in the Gavilan Mountains 25 miles east of the Monterey Bay. The site was chosen for its limestone soils and ideal climate. At an average elevation of 2,200 feet it is among the highest and coolest vineyard sites in California.
Varietal Content: 100% Pinot Noir; Cooperage: 100% French oak - 30% new, 20% second vintage, 50% neutral
Once again, de Villiers has produced one of Calera’s most voluptuous and dark-fruited expressions of Pinot Noir, with alluring aromas of blackberry, cassis and cedary cigar box. On the palate, lush dark berry and black currant flavors are supported by a firm tannic backbone that frames the fruit and carries the wine to a long, energetic finish.
After several years of drought, 2016 brought a return to normal winter rainfall levels, which replenished the Mt. Harlan vineyards and set the pace for a slightly early, but near-ideal, growing season. A warm spring led to a relatively early budbreak, followed by warm, sunny summer. While summer provided abundant sunshine for ripening the grapes, mild nights ensured that they ripened perfectly, with excellent acid and sugar levels. As a result, our 2016 Pinot Noirs are lush and balanced, with beautifully articulated flavors.
The 2016 Calera Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard was a treat for us to enjoy on a girl's night! Compared to other Pinot Noir wines that I have drank, this one was not as sweet. A true red with berry undertones and a slight oak flavor, it is a robust and rich wine. My girlfriends and I loved learning more about the region and how the wine was produced. I would suggest this wine to someone who is acclimated to red wines and likes a wine that is full bodied. We did enjoy this with some chocolate, and the sweetness of the chocolate was delicious against the richness of the wine. This is a wine to be appreciated by those who know their wine and like to detect flavors and aromas. I completed this review in exchange for compensation and free product, but all views are my own.
(Nov 4, 2019 at 4:33 PM)
This wine is to die for! This is another wine that I wasn’t familiar with, and I am so glad I was able to try it. Most Pinot Nior wines are very smooth and light. This is smooth but it is tastes like a full bodied wine. I also love that the wine tells you all the little details about it, elevation, rainfall, when the vines were planted, and the geology. This will be another wine I’ll be buying more of! I completed this review in exchange for compensation and free product, but all views are my own.
(Nov 8, 2019 at 5:05 PM)
A delicious and pleasantly complex pinot noir. Off the top of the glass the wine is instantly earthy with a hint of spice, think of things like tilled soil, powdered dry herbs, and leather. Deeper into the glass, these aromas sweeten and moisten considerably, maturing into a bouquet of dark red fruit and freshly sliced plum. On the palate, the fruit from the aromatics are what carry over most prominently, while the herbs linger pleasantly in the background. At the risk of sounding like a ‘traditionalist’, the classic item to pair with pinot noir is beef bourguignon, and that would actually work perfectly here – classics are classic for reason, after all. However, if that’s a bit too ‘by the book,’ you might also consider fatty fishes such as salmon baked in a butter and herbs sauce. Personally, I enjoyed this wine with steaks marinated in oil and balsamic vinegar with cracked pepper corns, roasted garlic, rosemary and fennel seeds, and it was beautiful pairing. In terms of ‘when’ to drink this, the pairings are the real hint – with friends and family over dinner, or as the ‘wine of choice’ for a dinner party featuring hardier entrees. For the enthusiast, this wine will mature quite nicely for three to four years if stored properly. While pinot noir isn’t typically marked for aging, letting this bottle mature will add nuanced mellowing qualities to the wine. This may manifest as pungent ‘gaminess,’ or it may serve to accentuate the fruit of its aromatics and profile – depending on the characteristics unique to the wine itself, and how it’s been stored.