2010 Calera "de Villiers" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."