Sipping on Calerrain wines

FULL-BODIED Calerrain chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands delivers intense fruit flavors and liquid sunshine.

Pick up a bottle of Calerrain wine and your eye is drawn to the embossed coastline of California running from top to bottom of the textured white label. Tracing the Pacific’s edge, it also traces the journey of Geoff and Chantelle Mace as they traverse the California terrain in search of great grapes.

Beginning with the lithe and lovely 2017 grenache rose from Monterey, just a click above pale pink in its translucent beauty, aromas of guava, watermelon and rose petals draw you in. This is direct-press rose, with 10 percent aged in new French oak, and four months of lees aging. With a texture of rushing river over wet stone, it offers flavors of pink grapefruit and nectarine.

Moving to the 2016 Calerrain chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands, we pick up intensity of fruit, delivering liquid sunshine in a most enjoyably full-bodied wine that doesn’t scream oak (40 percent new French). Instead, it is all finesse, with aromas of ripe Honeycrisp apples, pineapple crème brulee and honeysuckle. It hits your palate with the intensity of a creamy lemon bar and tangerine lime sorbet. Beautifully intense acid meets butterscotch on the long finish.

The cabernet from Church Creek Vineyards is remarkably restrained and sculpted, with an edge of toastiness from 60 percent new French. Absent the cloying clay present in many Santa Clara cabs, instead, it is juicy and bright, with dark cherry, baking spice, roasted persimmon and pomegranate. Mouthwatering.

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About Laura Ness
Laura Ness is an accomplished freelance writer offering travel tips and commentary on the California wine industry.