Nestled in the picturesque region of Mt Harlan in California’s San Benito County, the Calera Wine Company stands as a testament to the remarkable potential of limestone-rich soils in winemaking. Established in 1974, this esteemed wine estate owes its existence to the vision of winemaker Josh Jensen.
After training in the revered wine region of Burgundy, Jensen learned the significance of limestone soils for producing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Inspired by this knowledge, he embarked on a quest to find the perfect terroir upon returning to the US.
Jensen’s search led him to Mt Harlan, where he purchased land that had once been a limestone quarry. In 1975, he planted 10 hectares (24 acres) of Pinot Noir, with the first vintage from the vineyard debuting in 1978. Over the years, the estate expanded to include plantings of Chardonnay, Viognier, and Aligoté, covering an impressive 85 acres (34 hectares).
Today, Calera Wine Company boasts six different single-vineyard Pinot Noir wines, each showcasing the distinct character of the terroir. Additionally, the estate produces a Chardonnay, Viognier, and Aligoté, further exemplifying the winery’s dedication to crafting a diverse and refined selection.
Situated at 2200ft (670m) above sea level in the Gavilan Mountain Range, Mt Harlan enjoys a cool climate with a strong coastal influence from the nearby Monterey Bay Coast. This unique combination creates an ideal environment for producing wines with elegant complexity and vibrant acidity.
Among Calera’s collection, the Jensen single-vineyard Pinot Noir has earned high praise, solidifying the winery’s reputation as one of California’s premier producers of this grape variety. Other single-vineyard wines, such as Selleck, Reed, Mills, Ryan, and de Villiers, consistently receive accolades from critics and wine enthusiasts alike.