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  • -Yes, Pleiades, I would like a glass of that, thanks. (Get it?  I know you do.)

 

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Entries in Pinot (1)

Friday
Dec302011

Calera and the art of the $20 Pinot

I was having a discussion the other day about how the Holy Grail of wine just might be the $20 bottle of California Pinot Noir (well, one that doesn't suck.)

Some of you might know Calera as a producer of several single single vineyard Pinots that are both affordable and delicious. And while some may argue that Calera's wines don't meet the strict (but nebulous) criteria that would define it as 'Natural Wine,' they certainly win some points with me due to their their minimal intervention, low sulphur, preference for organic fruit, and indigenous yeast philosophy of winemaking. This is about as close to 'Natural Wine' as we get here in California, and Calera keeps these standards even for their value-priced cuvée, the Central Coast Pinot Noir.

Each year, Calera vinifies the 'Central Coast' Pinot using fruit sourced from up to 9 different vineyards (and for the record, these are generally highly respected vineyards.) For my money, this is the best $20 bottle of US made Pinot out there, in part because although it is a blend, it feels to me like a terroir driven wine. This lovely stuff is floral, bursting with wild berries, loamy earth, mint, and flowers. There is a hint of oak, but it lurks pleasantly in the background, and, in fact, only 10% of the oak used here is new, thank god. Beyond this kind of description, the true reason I like the Calera Central Coast Pinot is that it's just one of those wines that makes you feel unexpectedly giddy -- and really, what more need one ask from a bottle of wine?  

I like this wine so much that I was really disappointed to see that Robert Parker gave it a 92 score -- I don't want to see a run on this wine, or see the price go up. (Wait, I thought he was getting out of California?!? Leave already, dude.) But I digress.

I bought a few bottles at Premier Cru, but I'm not curently seeing it on their site. Fortunately, K&L comes to the rescue with plenty of them in stock for $19.99.

PS - This is another bottle with that lovely glass VinoSeal enclosure (istead of cork.) Love those.