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Professional Ratings: 94 Wine & Spirits, 93 The Wine Advocate, 90 Wine Enthusiast
Region: Central Coast, California
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Style: Smooth & Supple
Alcohol By Volume: 14.1%
Item no. 117218
This stately 2009 Ryan vineyard Pinot Noir displays a rich, elegant and distinct bouquet of black currant, blackberry bramble, flinty mineral and dried fennel. This wine is lush but restrained with nice fine-grained tannins, wonderful forest characters, slight anise, a hint of toast and deep berry fruit. Truly Mt Harlan; classic Ryan Vineyard.
The vines in the upper block of Ryan, rising to 2,500 feet, are just settling in. Jim Ryan, Calera's vineyard manager, planted it in 1998 at a higher density than Calera’s other sites, most of which date to 1975. At first, this wine appears to be a big, extracted fruit bomb until, hours later, the tannins begin to breathe and the texture broadens, the fruit filling in the tannins on the sides of the mouth. A day later, the tannins and fruit have merged back into the middle of the wine, focused on dark, mineral intensity, on scents of smoke and earth, carrying plenty of extract within a pinot noir frame. While this may seem like a stylistic departure for Calera, it could also be read as a youthful interpretation of the Mount Harlan site. It's formidable and delicious in any case, especially if decanted for roast duck.
The 2009 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard shows off layers of sweet tobacco, crushed flowers, leather, spices and dried cherries. The 100% whole clusters come through on the saline, floral-infused finish. Bottle age should help the stems to integrate and the tannins to soften. Ryan is Calera's highest altitude site. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.
In its youth, this wine is tightly wound and austere, despite a wealth of ripe cherry fruit. The acidity and tannins wrap it up in a concealing cloak of dry astringency. But it has the inherent balance to age over the next 10 years, gradually softening and mellowing.