2016 Calera Chardonnay Mt. Harlan Estate

Year: 2016
Appellation: Mount Harlan
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 93+
Vinous Media: 93+
Wine Enthusiast: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
Price :
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"The 2016 Chardonnay Mt Harlan from Calera is excellent, wafting from the glass with notes of yellow orchard fruit, citrus blossom and blanched almonds. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, ample and elegantly textural, with lovely tension, chalky grip and a pure, stony finish. This is a beautifully balanced offering from Calera that still feels tightly coiled, and I wouldn't be surprised if my score comes to look conservative.

This was an interesting set of releases from this venerable Central Coast winery, founded by the pioneering Josh Jensen and acquired in August last year by the Duckhorn Wine Company. Several of the wines reviewed here offer great value, above all the 2015 Pinot Noir Central Coast ($28). Moving up the scale, I found the 2014 vineyard designates from the Mt. Harlan estate difficult to read. The product of yields vastly reduced by drought, the wines are atypically opaque and almost brutally concentrated. Initially, I had doubts about their overall balance and harmony. But the remarkable way the wines responded to aeration convinced me that they have great futures ahead of them. Note, however, that they will undoubtedly demand several years of patience—as I've indicated in my notes." (WA)

"The 2016 Chardonnay (Mt. Harlan) is a powerful, phenolic wine built on structure and intense minerality. Smoke, slate, lemon confit, white flowers and herbal notes open up in the glass, but only with great reluctance. I would prefer to cellar the 2016 for another 6-12 months, as it really needs time to come together. Even so, it is impressive at this early stage." (VM)

"This delicious bottling from the iconic estate is clean and taut on the nose, with aromas of lemon peel, Pink Lady apple, honeysuckle and a hint of toast. The palate is extremely well rounded and deep, showing fleshy flavors of ripe apple and white peach before savory sea salt and zesty lemon rind cut through the buttered sourdough midpalate. -Matt Kettmann" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Calera’s Mt. Harlan Vineyards are located inthe Gavilan Mountains 25 miles east of the Monterey Bay. The site was chosen for its limestone soils and ideal climate. At an average elevation of 2,200 feet it is among the highest and coolest vineyard sites in California.

Harvest Notes:
After several years of drought, 2016 brought a return to normal winter rainfall levels, which replenished the Mt. Harlan vineyards and set the pace for a slightly early, but near-ideal, growing season. A warm spring led to a relatively early budbreak, followed by warm, sunny summer. While summer provided abundant sunshine for ripening the grapes, mild nights ensured that they ripened perfectly, with excellent acid and sugar levels.

Comments from the Winemaker:
Bright and sophisticated, with lovely weight and a lush, mouthcoating texture, this wine begins with enticing aromas of Asian pear, toasted brioche and lemon zest. On the palate, flavors of Key lime pie and cumquat are supported by beautifully integrated French oak and a streak of acidity thatadds poise and length to this elegant Chardonnay.