The Etude Carneros Pinot Noir is a true reflection of the winery’s estate vineyard, Grace Benoist Ranch. A blend of the best grapes from individual vineyard parcels on the Ranch, this wine tells the story of a particular vintage from a very unique place.
"Vivid strawberry and dried-flower aromas here with hints of sandalwood. Medium to full body with firm, creamy tannins and a tangy finish. Opulent. Tight and focused. Pumice and black and white-pepper notes. A pretty wine already, but give it a year or two to open and soften. Drink after 2021.” - James Suckling
“A well-made, larger production offering, this wine is richly layered in strawberry, raspberry and black tea, the oak slightly sweet and toasty. Smoky overtones provide a hint of game and earth, leading to a cohesive, resolved finish.” - Virginie Boone
“From the same site in Carneros, the 2018 Pinot Noir Grace Benoist Ranch offers a Burgundian nose of black cherry and currant fruits intermixed with notions of wood smoke, forest floor, spice, and spring flowers. Beautifully textured, elegant, and seamless on the palate, it has loads of character, and while already drinking nicely, it’s going to evolve for 7-8 years or more.” - Jeb Dunnuck, January 28, 2021
A vibrant ruby red, garnet color, with aromas of lifted red berries, black cherry and fresh strawberry, alongside earth and spice notes of cedar, pink peppercorn and crushed tea leaf, finishing with brown baking spice notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, characteristics often found in Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noirs. Rich, round and silky with bright acidity and long, fine-grained tannins that suggest the opportunity to age a bit, for further development of the complex layers of flavor.
In the micro-climate of the Carneros, a near perfect season was welcomed after several tense vintages, beginning with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather, with harvest for Pinot Noir occurring in late August and early September. Generally normal to heavier fruit-set with great flavor intensity and complexity will be the hallmark of the season.
The Etude Carneros Pinot Noir hails from our estate vineyards tucked away in the far Northwest corner of the Carneros appellation, just on the Southwest corner of Sonoma. Unlike most of Carneros, which is largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils at Grace Benoist Ranch are variations of soils influenced by volcanic origin. Combining these well-drained, rocky upland soils with the extreme western location closer to the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay make this site an ideal place to grow Burgundian varieties. The vineyard parcels at Grace Benoist Ranch conform to the various soil types and the changing contours of the Ranch topography. Individual vineyards average only eight acres in size and spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. Grace Benoist Ranch is farmed to Etude’s exacting standards, using environmentally sound viticultural practices. The Ranch is sustainably farmed and certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance as well as Fish Friendly Farming. At the Ranch, there are four smaller vineyards (Laniger, Deer Camp, Temblor and Heirloom) with five principal unique soil types and 20 distinct Pinot Noir clones.
The Carneros Estate Pinot Noir underwent cold maceration in small lot open-top fermenters with extended time on the skins and including a small number of whole clusters. Vineyard lots are vinified and aged individually and final blending is subject to a rigorous selection process, whereby only the best casks are chosen to represent the Grace Benoist Ranch Estate Pinot Noir. The wine is aged in French Oak with a small percentage of new barrels.
For more than a decade Jon has fashioned Etude wines with a simple creed. Inspired winegrowing diminishes the need for a winemaker to intervene in the cellar. Whether sourcing from the estate Grace Benoist Ranch in Sonoma's Los Carneros, or vineyards like Fiddlestix and North Canyon in famed growing regions of California's Central Coast, his focus is on coaxing the very best from the vineyard. It shows in every glass of Etude.
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