Calera is located in the Mt. Harlan AVA, which is east of Monterey and Salinas on the northern tip of Central California. The Mt. Harlan AVA isn’t well known since the only commercial vineyards in the AVA belong to Calera. Calera was founded in 1975 by Josh Jensen, who was much impressed by the wines of Burgundy when he lived in France after college. Determined to make Burgundian style wines in California, Jensen spent several years looking for land with a high limestone content. He finally found acreage 90 miles south of San Francisco on Mt. Harlan. He named his winery “calera” after the Spanish word for limekiln. Today the winery is comprised of 47 acres of vineyards. Calera is known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. About 30,000 bottles are produced annually. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that "Calera is one of the most compelling Pinot Noir specialists of not only the New World, but of Planet Earth. Credit must be extended to its visionary founder, proprietor Josh Jensen."
Mt. Harlan is an AVA in San Benito County. Mt. Harlan is in the Coast Range mountains, which are east and south of Santa Cruz and Carmel Valley. Calera is the most established winery in Mt. Harlan. Mt. Harlan is in the Central Coast AVA, a huge wine producing area that extends from Santa Barbara County in the south to San Francisco in the north. With more than 100,000 vineyard acres, it includes parts of six counties near the Pacific Ocean. Nearly 20 smaller AVAs lie within the Central Coast AVA. Central Coast earned appellation status in 1985. Included in the appellation are parts of the counties of Contra Costa, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Nearly every grape varietal grown in California is grown somewhere in the Central Coast AVA, though Chardonnay accounts for nearly 50% of the entire wine grape crop.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.