The Mt. Harlan American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located in San Benito County, California. Encompassed by the larger Central Coast AVA in California, this wine region is located in the Gabilan Mountains. It has elevations of up to 2,200 feet, and the soil in this wine region is predominately limestone. Established in 1990, the Mt. Harlan AVA consists of over 7,000 acres. Pinot Noir, Viognier, and Aligote grapes are grown in this California wine region, among others. Only one winery, Calera Wine Company, currently exists in the Mt. Harlan AVA. For information on the vineyards, winery and wines of Calera Wine Company in the Mt. Harlan AVA of California, see below.
Calera Wine Company – the Vineyards. Calera is Spanish for limekiln, a fitting name for a winery founded in the limestone-rich soils of the Mt. Harlan wine region. The first vineyards were planted here in 1975 – 24 acres of Pinot Noir that were planted on three separate parcels. Each parcel was separately named for the wines it would eventually produce – Selleck, Reed and Jensen. In 1982 Calera’s owner, Josh Jensen, purchased an additional 300 acres and went on to plant Viognier, Chardonnay, and additional acres of Pinot Noir. These are the only vineyards currently planted in the Mt. Harlan AVA in California. These vineyards, located at about 2,200 feet above sea level, are some of the highest and coolest in California. They also have a very long growing season. These Mt. Harlan vineyards use sustainable farming practices, including the planting of cover crops and the use of organic fertilizers.
Calera Wine Company – the Winery. Calera’s first wines were created in 1975, 1,000 cases of Zinfandel from purchased grapes. Property to build the winery was purchased in 1977, with the state of the art winery finally completed in 2002. It is a one of a kind, seven tier gravity-flow winery that is built into the side of a mountain. They also use other minimal intervention techniques such as native yeasts, whole cluster fermentations and minimal racking, which contribute to the amazing texture and flavors of their wines.
Calera Wine Company Wines. For some of the best of this Mt. Harlan AVA winery’s wines, be sure to try some of the California wines below.
2009 Aligote Mt. Harlan. This gorgeous white wine has aromas of apple blossoms and honeysuckle, and flavors that include white currants and tangerines. It has a nice, clean finish.
2009 Central Coast Viognier. A lively California wine that has aromas of white peaches and melon, followed by flavors of apricots and tropical fruits. This Viognier has an especially delicious finish.
2009 Chardonnay Central Coast. This is a lovely white California wine that has aromas of peach and crisp green apples, followed by flavors of pear and lemon and a very long finish. Calera Wine Company ages their Chardonnay in French Oak barrels.