Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Wine:Calera Wine Company 2003 Chardonnay  (Mount Harlan)

Calera Wine Company

2003 Chardonnay
(Mount Harlan)

Calera, in San Benito County’s Mt. Harlan AVA, is far better known for Pinot Noir than for Chardonnay. Founder Josh Jensen had a spent a couple of years in Burgundy after earning his master’s at Oxford, and he came to believe that limestone was essential to growing high-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Once he found a proper site, Pinot Noir became the focus at Calera, but the vineyard’s limestone soils yield distinctive Chardonnay fruit as well.

This wine comes from a 6.1-acre parcel planted with Chardonnay vines that are on their own roots. The vineyard, planted in 1984, yielded less than 2 tons per acre of fruit in 2003 with a lovely minerality that’s reminiscent of Burgundy. This wine is leaner and racier than most California Chardonnays, with lemon, grapefruit and cherimoya flavors, mineral accents and some well-integrated oak (about 30 percent of the barrels were new). I think this $25 wine is delicious with shellfish – I drank it recently with Dungeness crab and melted butter – and I can imagine it with some nice briney oysters or grilled scallops.

Reviewed February 2, 2007 by Laurie Daniel.

The Wine

Winery: Calera Wine Company
Vintage: 2003
Wine: Chardonnay
Appellation: Mount Harlan
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $25.00

Review Date: 2/2/2007

The Reviewer

Laurie Daniel

Laurie Daniel, wine columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has been reviewing wine for more than 10 years. She doesn’t use numbers, preferring to describe her recommended wines and let consumers decide for themselves. Laurie believes that bigger isn’t necessarily better; she’s partial to wines of balance, finesse and character. Her particular interests are Pinot Noir (versions that really taste like Pinot, that is) and aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.