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 Vineyard at Calera [1]

Below are notes on distinctive new wines from 2 of the best California Central Coast producers (to read an article on Central Coast producers click here [2])


 Calera lime kiln [3]

The 2012 Pinot Noirs from Calera were very impressive when I tasted them just after bottling last year (to read my article click here [4]).

Here is the introduction to the 2012s from my article in September 2014 which is referenced above: The production in 2012 was up from reduced levels of 2011. The wines are characterized by intense and beautifully rounded fruit. Tasted from barrel last year along with the 2011s the wines showed tremendous potential. The 2012s were bottled in April-May and are already very expressive, but they also have the structure and balance to age for an extended period of time. They will be released over the course of next year from January through September. This is clearly an exceptional vintage. 

The 2012s are now being released for sale with the releases continuing through September. I just tasted the wines released in January, the de Villiers and Ryan. They are even more impressive now than last year which is saying something. The 2012 Jensen at $85 and Reed at $65 were just released.  The Selleck at $90 and the Mills at $58 will be released in September. Don’t miss these wines. My recent tasting notes on the de Villiers and Ryan are shown below followed by my notes on the 2012 Reed, Mills, Jensen, and Selleck tasted from bottle last year.

 calera 2012 [5]

2012 Calera Pinot Noir de Villiers Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Released in January there are 1616 cases of the 2012 De Villiers.
The wine showed opulence from the very beginning and just kept getting better. It is impressive and destined for a long life ahead. Deep in color the wine has a gorgeous and faintly exotic perfume with hints of cherry and a floral nuance. It is full, rich, and rounded with a myriad of supple fruits and faint hints of floral spice. Very pure and flavorful this is a terrific Pinot Noir with a long life ahead – Outstanding Plus.    $48

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Released in January there are 1875 cases of the 2012 Ryan.
The wine was initially a bit restrained, but really opened with air and became very expressive and fruit driven. With a deep color and a lovely berry and cherry perfume with floral notes and a kiss of spice, this is a Pinot Noir with great structure and backbone combined with lots of fruit and flavor. It will benefit immensely from additional bottle age and should develop over a very long time – Outstanding Plus.    $50

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Mills Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Deep in color with a lovely floral tinged perfume this wine has a lot of charm. It is supple and rounded with lots of fruit and is beautifully balanced – Outstanding.

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Reed Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Deep in color with a lovely berry tinged floral perfume this Pinot Noir is loaded with lush supple fruit and is very forward. A wine of great style and balance this should drink beautifully for many years – Outstanding.

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Voluptuous is the best single adjective for this wine. It is deep in color and has a stunning perfume showing berry fruit intermingled with floral spice. It has great fruit and is supple and rounded with a lot of depth and richness. Beautifully balanced, this is really delicious – Extraordinary.

2012 Calera Pinot Noir Selleck Vineyard Mt. Harlan
Wow! Dark in color this wine has a stunningly complex perfume showing a myriad of fruits with floral spice notes and a faint exotic tinge. It has great intensity with lots of rich supple fruit and is balanced with a good underlying structure. This should age effortlessly for many years – Extraordinary.

The Calera 2012 Pinot Noirs are amazing.  These are great wines that will provide immense enjoyment over decades of drinking pleasure. If you love Pinot Noir these are wines for you! I am buying some for my cellar and recommend that you do the same!


 Tablas Creek Vineyard winery sign [6]

Tablas Creek Vineyard is making consistently wonderful wines that are distinctive and beautifully crafted (to read a recent article click here [7]). Over the years I have been consistently impressed by the quality of all the Tablas Creek wines. Below are notes on new releases from the 2014 vintage and the 2013 Roussanne and 2013 Côtes de Tablas. These wines are indeed very special.

Here is Tablas Creek’s description of the 2014 vintage:
The 2014 vintage was the result of three years of drought and our earliest ever beginning to the growing season. The summer was warm but without serious heat spikes, and our coolest August in a decade slowed ripening at a critical period. When it warmed back up in September, the fruit tumbled in, and we finished in mid-October, about two weeks earlier than normal. The result was a vintage with excellent concentration balanced by good freshness, which should be vibrant and powerful young, and should age beautifully.

  2014 tablas creek rose (2) [8] 

These 2014 rosés are beautifully balanced and represent some of the best California rosés currently available.

2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Rosé
The production of this wine is 1800 cases. It is comprised of 80% Grenache, 17% Mouvèdre, and 3% Counoise with the grapes sourced from 7 different Rhône vineyards in Paso Robles. Pale salmon pink in color with a golden hue the wine has a gorgeous floral perfume with hints of strawberry and a faint hint of citrus. Very elegant, rounded and lush it exhibits strawberry tinged fruit with a faint suggestion of watermelon yet there is a very nice crispness that gives the wine balance. This is a really delicious rosé – Outstanding.    $20

2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Dinathus
There were 1450 cases of this wine produced. The wine is named for the flowering plant with deep pink blossoms. It is made from grapes grown on the oldest French-source vines at Tablas Creek and is comprised of 46% Mouvèdre, 41% Grenache, and 13% Counoise. The color is a light reddish pink with a faint golden hue and golden  edge. It has a deep floral perfume with hints of strawberry and watermelon with a faint hint of spice. This is a full flavored, fruit forward rosé with enough depth and intensity to accompany richer foods such as sausage and grilled meats – Outstanding.    $27

 tablas creek 2013 and 2014 [9]

2014 Tablas Creek Vineyard Vermentino
Vermentino is known as Rolle in the southern areas of France and Vermentino in Italy. It is less well known in other areas, but is increasingly popular as a California varietal. This is Tablas Creek’s fourteenth vintage for Vermentino. It is consistently really delicious and this 2014 continues the trend.
There were 1000 cases of this wine produced. What I really like about it is the bright crispness and the subtle, but complex flavors. The color is pale yellow and the wine has a gorgeous perfume with hints of melon and citrus a faint floral quality. Floral, melon, and citrus flavors are augmented by a hint of almond and the wine has a delicate supple quality with a nice underlying crispness. This is really lovely, very easy to drink, and a great complement to a wide variety of lighter foods. It is not surprising how popular this variety is becoming in the US – Outstanding.    $27

Here is Tablas Creek’s description of the 2013 vintage:
The 2013 vintage was a classic California vintage, warm and sunny, with added intensity from the low yields produced by our second consecutive drought year. The summer was consistently warm, without the heat spikes or cold stretches that can delay ripening, and resulted in an early harvest under near-perfect conditions. The net result was a blockbuster vintage, with excellent concentration and good freshness, that should offer both early appeal and the capacity to age. Our Roussane was harvested nearly a month earlier than normal between September 11th and October 3rd.

2013 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne
The production of this wine was 650 cases. I must say that I really love Roussanne. It is delicious young and develops and improves over years. Consistently Tablas Creek makes one of the best Roussannes. The one thing not so good about it is that the production is relatively small. Over time, I expect that to change as areas within the Central Coast seem ideally suited to making great Roussanne. This is one.
Light yellow gold in color the wine has a deep perfume with hints of apple, quince, and pear. Full and rich with complex fruit flavors suggesting apple, pear, and citrus with a faint floral spiciness, this wine also has depth and richness with a nice underlying crispness. Balanced and very flavorful, this wine is delicious now, but should keep and develop over 10 or more years – Outstanding Plus.     $35        

2013 Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas
There were 1580 cases cases of this wine produced. It is comprised of a blend of four estate grown Rhône varietals – 55% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Counoise, and 5% Mouvèdre. I love the richness of this wine along with the suppleness. It is dark in color and has a great perfume of plum with a floral undertone and hints of spice and cedar. On the palate there is a myriad of fruits with hints of plum and blackberry accented by an exotic nuance and it is amazingly lush and forward. Delicious to drink now, make no mistake, this is a wine that will keep and develop over a period of many years – Outstanding Plus.      $35

This is a great across the board line up of Tablas Creek red, white, and rosé. The wines are really delicious and represent very good value. These are wines to buy!

glasses of red and white wine [10]