Every so often I leave German Pinot Noir behind and venture into the New World. This time it is Californian Pinot - and a very pleasant one. It is made by the guys from the Calera Wine Company, a Californian winery founded by Josh Jensen in the 1970s. K&U, where I bought this wine, are giving Josh a lot of praise for his 'slow', handmade and sustainable style of winemaking (actually, they do praise almost all their winemakers in that way). The grapes for this Pinot were indeed harvested by hand and fermented with native yeast. So let's have a look!
A beautiful, clear and light red colour with some brown mixed in. The nose, mmm, lovely marinated cherries with bread, some ground pepper and a vegetable leafiness. Expect a similar sensation on your palate, bitter-sweet cherries with a little strawberry, pepper, dark chocolate and/or cocoa and, again, vegetable leafiness - a cool woodland aroma. The wine has been aged in French oak barrels, but as only 10% of these were new there is just a little hint of oak in there that is perfectly balanced. A smooth wine that is nevertheless quite concentrated, with a decent bit of acidity to give it an extra kick. There is also the kick of 14% alcohol, but thankfully this does not affect the taste. You do still notice it, though, and I wish it had one percentage point less alcohol.
A really good Pinot with perhaps a little more force than a German Spätburgunder - which makes it very pleasant but also bordering on too strong for my taste. Still a very good wine though.