Josh Jensen's winemaker mentors in Burgundy were adamant that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay must be grown in limestone-rich soils, as present in the Côtes d'Or, to make great wines. Upon his return from France in 1971 he spent two years searching throughout California to find limestone before finally purchasing, in early 1974, a high-elevation parcel with a limestone deposit of several million tons. Located 90 miles south of San Francisco and about 25 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, it is near Mt. Harlan in San Benito County. Its elevation is 2,200 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest and coldest vineyard properties in California. Limestone had been commercially quarried from Jensen's Mt. Harlan property a hundred years earlier, and to this day, next to his Viognier vineyard, there stands a magnificently well-preserved 30- foot tall masonry limekiln. The name "Calera" is the Spanish world for "limekiln," which serves as the winery's symbol and appears on every bottle of wine. In 1975, Josh planted his first 24 acres of pinot noir in three separate parcels. In the Burgundian tradition, he named each parcel individually to emphasize the fact that each would produce a distinct wine. The original plantings are the Selleck Vineyard (5 acres), Reed Vineyard (5 acres), and Jensen Vineyard (14 acres). These vineyards produced their initial tiny crop in 1978.
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