Calera 2014 Ryan Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir (95AG 94WE)

Calera 2014 Ryan Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir (95AG 94WE)

  • Size: 750ml
  • Item Code: WN18011201
  • Vintage: 2014

The 2014 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard is a powerful, bombastic wine with huge fruit and equally imposing tannins that demand patience. Waves of dark, deeply sketched fruit hit the palate in a virile Pinot Noir that is going to need at least several years to truly come into its own. By no means a shy wine, the Ryan also has tremendous potential. In 2014, the Ryan was done with 70% whole clusters, which is a bit lower than normal.AG

Dark in color, this wine packs deep blackberry and boysenberry aromas together with violet, allspice and sandalwood. The palate is redolent of licorice and nutmeg, wrapped in an unrelenting texture that lets the black plum and lilac flavors just peek out. Time will allow this to blossom. Drink 2019–2034.WE

Named after Jim Ryan, who has been Calera’s vineyard manager since 1979, Ryan Vineyard is the highest vineyard on Mt. Harlan, reaching elevations of 2,500 feet. This densely planted, 13.1-acre site yields a vibrant and inviting Pinot Noir, with lovely red berry layers and sophisticated minerality. The wine was aged without racking in 30% new French oak barrels for 20 months.

Ratings and Awards

  • 95 Antonio Galloni
  • 94 Wine Enthusiast

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir (Franc Pineau, Noirien, Savagnin Noir, Morillon, Auvernat, Plant Doré, Blaueburgunder, Blauer Klevner, Cortaillod, Pignola, Pinot Nero, Pignola, Rouci and Nagyburgundi.) A wild vine present in Burgundy when the Romans invaded Gaul, Pinot Noir was among the first vines to be domesticated. The name ”pinot,” suggestive of its pine-cone shaped clusters, was in use as early as the fourth century. Its preeminence as the hallowed grape of the Côte d’Or dates from 1395, when Duke Philippe the Bold banned plantings of Gamay in Pinot Noir’s favor. In the early 1990s, research conducted by plant geneticist Carole Meredith at the University of California at Davis revealed a common heritage between Pinot Noir and a number of other grape varieties indigenous to northern France. Based on DNA fingerprinting, she concluded that an original Pinot prototype and an obscure vine called Gouais Blanc are the parents of Pinot Noir and fifteen other Gallic varieties, including Chardonnay and Gamay Noir.

Pinot Noir is genetically highly unstable, and has mutated to over a thousand clones in Burgundy alone. Difficult and fragile, it buds early and ripens early, and so requires a relatively cool climate in order to remain on the vine long enough to develop flavor, aroma and complexity. Though it needs ample warmth to ripen fully, it is susceptible to too much heat as well as to frost, humidity and rot. The best soil profile for Pinot Noir is well drained, chalky clay, but it also fares well in marly loam. The unique presence in Burgundy of a mineral called montmorillonite, which facilitates the plant’s absorption of elements from the soil, may be one of the reasons why red Burgundies so precisely reflect their microclimates. Of moderate vigor and low productivity, the vine bears small, compact clusters of not very thick skinned berries which are high in acid, moderate in tannin, not very deep in color and delicately scented. What color it has can drop out during careless vinification.

Also a foundation variety of Champagne, Pinot Noir is seldom blended with other grapes, but is occasionally is vinified as a rosé. It has migrated successfully to cooler climates of the new world, notably the Carneros district of California, where it loses the earthy Burgundian stamp but acquires density and color, and less so to Germany where, as Spätburgunder, it is barely more than a fresh rosé.

The highest expression of this holy grail of wine is a silky, deceptively powerful wine of sweet, elegantly subtle red berry, summer pudding fruit with a tapestry of earthy, floral, mushroom and mineral notes and an airy, seductively complex perfume which reflects all of this. Also grown in the Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Oregon, the Loire Valley, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.