Tonight I decided to open up a New World Pinot Noir that tastes like an Old World:  the 2002 Calera Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir.  Calera’s founder and owner, Josh Jensen, a native Californian, graduated from Yale and then earned his Master’s degree at Oxford.   After graduate school he spent a number of years living in France, where he became fluent and French and learned a great deal about Burgundian-style winemaking.  He even worked a few harvests including one at the world renowned Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, producer of some of the most expensive Pinot Noir in the world.  In the early 1970’s he returned to California and began his search for land rich with limestone.  It took a few years, but he eventually found land similar to that of vineyards in France he admired.  It is located near Mt. Harlan and is 2200 feet above sea level, unusually high for a vineyard.  A hundred years prior, the property was used as a commercial quarry for limestone.  Calera (the Spanish word for “limekiln”) is named after an old masonry limekiln which was leftover from the quarry operations.  I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was first drawn to his wine by the label.  It wasn’t the front label that grabbed me; it was the back label with its plethora of information.  It lists:  American Viticultural Area (AVA): Mt. Harlan, Mountain Range: Gavilan Mountain, County: San Benito, Region:  California’s Central Coast, Predominant geology:  Limestone, Average Elevation:  2200 feet above sea level, Vineyard location: 9 miles south of Hollister, 90 miles south of San Francisco, 25 miles inland (east) of Monterey/Carmel, Number of vines:  10,575 (100% Pinot Noir), Vine Spacing:  6′ x 10′, Vines per acre: 726, Exposure of slope:  South, Year planted: 1984, Rootstock: Own-rooted (Pinot Noir), 16 year average crop yield:  1.33 tons per acre (20.0 hectolitres of wine per hectare of vineyard), Dates of harvest: September 16 – October 11 2002, Tons harvested:  21, Tons per acre:  1.49, Average ripeness:  24.7% sugar, Fermentation: Native yeasts, Barrel aging: 18 months in 60-gallon French barrels 30% new, Malo-lactic fermentation: 100%, Filtration:  none, pH: 3.64, Quantities bottled: 15,492 750ml bottles, 3000 half-bottles, 72 magnums (1.5L), 6 jeroboams (3L) for a total of 1468 full-case equivalents.   The wine-geek in me appreciates the fact that Jensen shares all of these facts with us and that somewhere in the midst of the facts about geology, pH and vine spacing is a graceful and elegant Old World style Pinot Noir.  Calera’s Pinot Noirs most certainly have not gone unnoticed.  Robert Parker says “Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth”.    Try it for yourself, see what you think.