The vines in the upper block of Ryan, rising to 2,500 feet, are just settling in. Jim Ryan, Calera’s vineyard manager, planted it in 1998 at a higher density than Calera’s other sites, most of which date to 1975. At first, this wine appears to be a big, extracted fruit bomb until, hours later, the tannins begin to breathe and the texture broadens, the fruit filling in the tannins on the sides of the mouth. A day later, the tannins and fruit have merged back into the middle of the wine, focused on dark, mineral intensity, on scents of smoke and earth, carrying plenty of extract within a Pinot Noir frame. While this may seem like a stylistic departure for Calera, it could also be read as a youthful interpretation of the Mount Harlan site. It’s formidable and delicious in any case, especially if decanted for roast duck.
The 2009 Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard shows off layers of sweet tobacco, crushed flowers, leather, spices and dried cherries. The 100% whole clusters come through on the saline, floral-infused finish. Bottle age should help the stems to integrate and the tannins to soften. Ryan is Calera’s highest altitude site. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. (AG)
A more deeply pitched nose of red and dark berry Pinot fruit, blue berry and black raspberry introduces delicious, fresh and lively flavors that are supple and round yet also possess a sophisticated mouth feel. There is plenty of mouth coating dry extract that buffers the firm tannic spine on the balanced finish that offers excellent depth and length. This is really very good. *Outstanding*
Deep red. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, incense and rose oil. Spicy, penetrating and gently sweet, offering spicy raspberry and cherry flavors that gain flesh and weight with air. Fine-grained tannins add grip to the finish, which leaves allspice and anise notes behind. Give this energetic wine some air or a few more years of bottle age. (JR)
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