The hunt for limestone took California Pinot Noir trailblazer Josh Jensen to one of the highest and coldest vineyard sites in the state, to a place where limestone lived; several million tons, in fact. Time spent in Burgundy, including a harvest at DRC
, had instilled in Jensen an appreciation for the influence of terroir
in great wine. In 1974 Jensen bought a parcel at 2,200 feet above sea level near Mt. Harlan in San Benito County and planted his first 24 acres to Pinot. While waiting for these vines to mature, he produced his first vintage, 1,000 cases of Zinfandel, in 1975. Over the years, Jensen's property has expanded to include Viognier, Chardonnay, and additional Pinot vineyards. In the large Mt. Harlan AVA, established by his own efforts in 1990, his vines are the only ones planted. Fruit for Calera's wines comes from both the estate property and several Central Coast vineyards, which provide fruit for the Central Coast and El Niï¿½o bottlings. Organic practices in the vineyards, and a seven-tier gravity flow winery ensures Calera wines undergo minimal "manipulation." For his Pinot, native yeast and whole cluster fermentation in small lots, as well as 16 months in barrel make for structured, "Burgundy-inspired" wines. Truly a pioneer, Jensen has been recognized many times over for his contribution to California winemaking, recently being honored as 2007 Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle.
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