2010 Calera "de Villiers" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

SKU #1121190 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A deep, masculine effort that spent 16 months in 30% new French oak, the 2010 Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard dishes out serious amounts of earthy black fruits, wild strawberries, sappy underbrush and floral qualities on the nose. This is followed up by a medium to full-bodied, supple and gorgeously textured effort that has no hard edges and blockbuster length. It has a core of sweet fruit and is certainly enjoyable now, yet it should age effortlessly for 10-12. Drink now-2016. Open, voluptuous and sexy efforts, these all benefitted from substantial air time and gained richness and depth over the evening. They’re brilliant Pinot Noirs.  (8/ 2013)

91 points Antonio Galloni

 Dark red/blue fruit, mint, licorice and cloves all burst from the 2010 Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard. Rich and layered the 2010 impresses for its inner perfume, understated personality and terrific overall balance. Like all of the Calera 2010s, the de Villiers is distinctly ripe in style, but it also possesses terrific length and persistence. The de Villiers is also the only Calera single-vineyard Pinot made from destemmed fruit. Calera is one of California's benchmark producers of Pinot Noir. The winery is located in the Gavilan Mountains, within the Mt. Harlan AVA, but I include the Pinots here for ease of reference. Proprietor Josh Jensen describes 2010 is a vintage with mostly normal conditions in terms of harvest dates, with yields that were slightly above average. The 2010 Pinots were brought in from late September to late October, which is virtually unheard of for Pinot Noir in other regions across the world. Overall, the 2010 Pinots are solid, but not at near the level of the very finest years. Distinct elements of sweet, candied fruit that suggest the fruit was a little riper than ideal. The Pinots are made with 100% whole clusters, except for the de Villiers, which is made from destemmed fruit, mostly because the vines here are younger than they are in the estate's other sites.  (7/ 2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. Spice-accented aromas of raspberry and fresh rose, with deeper cherry pit and earth notes in the background. Gently sweet red fruit flavors are given spine by juicy acidity and complicated by notes of candied flowers and orange zest. Smooth and smoky on the finish, featuring supple tannins and an exotic blood orange quality.  (12/ 2013)

Wine & Spirits

 Ripe and dark as a late-summer blackberry, this has an herbal, woodland tone underneath that keeps it savory. It’s a generous take on Mt. Harlan terroir from adolescent vines planted in 1997. Match its rich fruit to sautéed wild mushrooms.  (10/ 2013)

Wine Spectator

 Lightly fragrant, with violet and red candy scents, this is elegant and graceful, featuring modest plum, limestone, raspberry and cherry flavors. Drink now through 2022. 1,681 cases made.  (7/ 2013)

K&L Notes

The de Villiers vineyard was planted in 1997 on Calera's Mt. Harlan estate adjacent to their Mills vineyard. The 2009 vintage blew out the doors as soon as the 96 point Wine Advocate review was published. The 2010 appelation wines are already faring well with critics, so it may be best to not wait until the single vineyard wines are scored as well... especially since yields in 2010 were greatly reduced! From the winemaker: "Brilliant and dark-hued, this 2010 de Villiers Vineyard Pinot Noir effuses playful, bright aromas of blackberry, licorice, mineral and just a hint of sweet oak. The wine is deep and smooth, with black cherry, spice and persistent cherry. Fine grained tannins offer a graceful structure and persistent juicy finish."

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By: Mahon McGrath |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 2/11/2013  | Send Email
This Pinot Noir commits an admirable trick, in a coquette-ish vein: while it seduces you with a generous, exotic fruit character on the nose that shows a nectarine/apricot liqueur-ish dimension, once sipped, it never quite shows the opulence you think might lie in wait, and eventually finishes quite focused and fresh. I wish there were more like this!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.