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The Impact of Mount Harlan Soil on Pinot Noir Production

The existence of the San Andreas Fault running roughly parallel to this mountain range is an indication of the complexity of these soils. The ground has been influenced by volcanic activity and friction between parts of the Earth’s crust for millennia. It is amazing that we are able to taste the wines that are the product of these ancient events.

Mount Harlan rises to 2400 feet above sea level. This elevated AVA is about 20 miles inland from the ocean and is influenced by coastal breezes.

Effectively irrigating the vineyards is always an issue on Mount Harlan. Water is quite scarce and some ingenious methods have been devised to nourish the vines. These efforts more than pay off; yields are very low and grapes have concentrated flavors and aromas. Yields are almost always below two tons per acre.

Josh Jenson makes some great Pinot Noir and Viognier in the viticultural area’s limestone soils under the Calera label. The word Calera translates to “Limekiln” in Spanish. It is obviously a fitting name for the rare limestone soils of Jenson’s vineyards.

> San Benito Wineries

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