2009 Calera "Jensen" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

SKU #1111843 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard is the biggest and richest of the 2009s. It boasts stunning depth in its dark fruit, licorice, spices and sweet balsamic notes. Layers of fruit totally saturate the palate as this utterly majestic Pinot opens up in the glass. The sheer depth and nuance of the Jensen is simply breathtaking. Readers will have to be patient, as the Jensen is very much built for the cellar. It is an American classic to savor and enjoy to age 20 and perhaps beyond. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029. Readers who want to experience the finest Pinot Noirs being made in California should put Calera at or near the top of their lists. The 2009s are simply breathtaking in their beauty. I am not sure why I was so blown away by the estate’s 2009s, as the entry-level 2009 Central Coast Pinot I reviewed last year provided more than enough clues as to the quality of the rest of the lineup. Based on that wine, I should have known what to expect. Congratulations to proprietor Josh Jensen and his entire team on these magnificent, utterly compelling wines. Organic farming, native fermentations and minimal racking are some of the choices that inform the Calera wines. (AG)  (8/2012)

95 points Vinous

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard is a gorgeous wine for drinking now, as the aromatics are just beginning to show the first signs of complexity. Sweet tobacco, mint, cedar, herbs and dried cherries flesh out in ample, deeply expressive Pinot endowed with real depth. The 2009 should continue to drink well for another 10-15 years. Today, the 2009 is a bit shy relative to how it showed a few years ago, and may be going through an awkward phase as it makes the transition from a young Pinot to a more middle-aged wine. (AG)  (9/2015)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. A heady bouquet presents fresh red and dark fruits, candied lavender and Asian spices. Silky, dense and gently sweet, with intense black raspberry and cherry flavors complicated by cola and spicecake nuances. A jolt of blood orange adds lift and cut to the sweet, extremely persistent finish featuring darker berry and anise notes. (JR)  (11/2012)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Josh Jensen’s remote mountain estate is surrounded by dry chaparral and it’s tempting to read its imprint in this wine’s exotic, garrigue-like aromas of lavender, pine and dried sage. The Jensen block, planted in 1975, has a wider range of exposures than Calera’s two other original blocks, Selleck and Reed. At first this wine’s fruit seems almost brambly, perhaps due to the concentrated ripeness of the south-facing compo­nents, but it’s girded by distinctly stern tannins; the vineyard’s high-elevation, its limestone soils and, likely, Jensen’s commitment to whole-cluster fermentation all contribute to that structural integrity. With a day of air, the wine relaxes, its beguiling fragrance and satiny fruit leaning back on cool minerality. It’s a Pinot Noir for the long haul, to open in ten years with a Berkshire pork chop grilled with rosemary springs.  (12/2012)

90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 A pleasingly well-layered, spicy and fresh nose offers up aromas of primarily mixed red berries and a background note of ripe plum. There is good verve to the medium-bodied flavors that possess an attractive mouth feel that is aided by the velvety texture of the tannins. This delicious effort is presently on the reserved side, in fact there is even a mild hint of austerity on the firm, balanced and lingering finish. This is less accessible than certain other wines in the range and will definitely require medium-term cellaring to be at its best.  (9/2012)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 In its youth, this tastes rich and candied, like a cherry, vanilla and buttercream pastry. It’s delicious, savory and fun, a very easy wine to drink with a great steak or chop. With its delicate texture, it should probably last quite a few years, without necessarily gaining in complexity.  (10/2012)

K&L Notes

Calera's Jensen vineyard is four hillside blocks of vines planted in 1975 on Mt. Harlan, which is east of the Monterey Bay at an elevation of 2000 feet. In a typical fine vintage such as this one, it produces about 1.5 tons of small berried grapes per acre which produce a particularly well-structured and age-worthy wine. From the winemaker: "The 2009 Jensen possesses a deep, rich garnet hue. Luscious aromas of cranberry, violets, granite, turmeric and raspberry torte mix with an alluring bouquet of peppery nutmeg and black cherry. This fascinating wine offers flavors of baking spice, ripe strawberries, rhubarb pie, chalky minerality and sweet berry wrapped around a juicy, elegant core of fine grained tannins, then trails off to a long, pleasurable finish."

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.