One of the biggest advantages of living close to Napa is the proximity to all the fabulous vineyards that dot the boarder of the Pacific Ocean! Though I am no way close to being a wine connoisseur, my husband does enjoy meandering and dabbling in wines, and over the course of time, we have visited several wineries and learnt much about the process of making wine, to share some insightful stories about some new and old wine clubs that honor the coast of Northern California.
This month, we went to a friend’s place where they served us some Calera Pinot Noir 2009 – and I must say, it was a rich and full-bodies wine that is worth a mention. Produced by the famous Calera Wine Company that resides in Hollister, CA, this was one of the best Pinot Noirs we’ve tasted this year, and hence I thought it would be good to explore Calera a bit more, and share their story with my readers. Located close to Big Sur, it is a perfect side trip on a day that you wish to explore the ocean and the mountain views. You won’t find any grandiose gift shop, trams, or fountains as you enter this winery, but you will discover incredible wines, be able to get an idea of how gravity-flow really works, meet our friendly staff, and get a feel for what makes Calera truly unique in a relaxed winery setting. Pack lunch or buy in town and stay awhile at their picnic tables which boast panoramic mountain views.
As far as the story goes, rather than follow the recommended path, Josh Jensen, the founder of Calera, became a pioneer in search of the perfect spot on the globe to grow grapes. Taking his cue from the great domaines of Burgundy which have grown grapes in limestone soil for centuries, he set out in search of the perfect spot in California to create wines unique to the world but in the style of the greatest wines of France. Site selection was vital as he ventured off the grid to plant on the site of an old limekiln in the Gavilan Mountains of California. Even Robert Parker, the greatest wine connoisseur of all times, is convinced: “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth.” If that doesn’t compel you to pay this Pinot Noir Pilgrimage a visit, then what will!!
As far as their wine recommendations go, you can join the Calera Wine Club to get personalized wine recommendations and information about new recipes and ways to enjoy their famous wine. However, for a first-timer, their classic Jensen Wine is the best way to enter the realm of Calera wines.