Grapelive Wine of the Day
By Kerry Winslow
2008 Calera Pinot Noir “Jensen” Mount Harlan, Central Coast.
Josh Jensen’s career is so stellar and long, it is hard to begin, so I won’t even try here, but for only mentioning that his wines are some of the greatest ever made in California and certainly he is a hall of fame Pinot winemaker, and in my humble opinion only getting better (like his wines) with age. At a recent tasting he showed his 1990 Reed Pinot, and while past it’s best and stewy it was still amazingly lovely and tasted remarkably like a fine aged Chateauneuf-du-Pape with loads of spice and plum fruit. He had used lots of stems at one point, making the wines quite bitter and green when young, much like Romanee-Conti Burgundies, but he has opted for a more refined approach recently and the wines can be accessed in their youth now and savored old and new. The 2008 Jensen is a marvelous Pinot Noir with class and character and should only get better and more interesting over the next 5 years, and while not the blockbuster the 2007 was, I will say I think it is a more sexy and seductive wine. Calera’s terroir is unique and his wines always have a racy earthy quality with sweet and savory layers, and this wine has all that and more with mountain berries, tangy cherry, red currant, plum and cranberry fruits leading the way. There is bramble, pepper, tea spices, lavender oil, mushroom and cedar notes intwined with the fruit that adds complexity and intrigue. The finish is crispy intense with fine tannins and acidity, while subtle smoky sweet oak shadings frame everything nicely. I hope to have a chance to see this beauty again over time, kudos to Josh and his team for this and all his wines.
($75 Est.) 94-95 Points, grapelive
(Tasted at California Family Winemakers, Aug. 21, 2011)