Our Deer Camp Pinot Noir is a vineyard designated wine from the Etude Estate Vineyards at Grace Benoist Ranch. This multi-vineyard ranch is tucked away in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation and features well-drained, rocky upland soils.
Deer Camp offers a unique expression of Pinot Noir from Grace Benoist Ranch, with depth, weight, and a lovely rustic bramble character. Full and rich, with a concentrated structure and tons of ripe, dark berry fruits on the nose and the palate. Multi-layered with flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, and black cherry, supported by warmed spiced notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. Earthier notes of cedar and black tea leaf sit alongside perfumed wild violet and chaparral brush. Fresh, mouthwatering acidity supports the sweet, midpalate sucrosity, leading to fine-grained tannins that are soft and textured, creating balance, elegance, and grace. The finish is long and satisfying.
Despite some memorably atypical factors, the 2020 season was another successful vintage. It was a warm, dry winter and the rain and cooler weather didn’t arrive until the end of March. While the mild spring provided a great early start, the winery followed extensive safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Summer brought very cool mornings and very warm days. Harvest was interrupted by wildfires across California, which came just as grapes started to be picked. We were very fortunate that none of our vineyards were in the active fire areas. The red wine harvest started in late August and the wines showed excellent development in cellars, reflecting the fine vintage year.
The Deer Camp Vineyard at Grace Benoist Ranch is located on a southwest facing slope of two blocks we refer to as the Pinot Bowl. Featuring distinctive rocky, well-drained soils of Kidd Stony Loam, the site is planted mostly to the Martini clone of Pinot Noir, which produces thick-skinned, pulpy grapes that hold up well to the fog and wind that blow through this cool climate vineyard. This small vineyard was named after an old deer camp structure that stands at the base of this site.
The grapes for this wine were harvested at night to preserve freshness and integrity. They were placed in open-top fermenters for 3-5 days of cold maceration followed by fermentation. A small percentage of the grapes were left as whole cluster to preserve the buoyancy of aromatics of the fruit and to add structure and refinement to the wine. Punch downs were performed during the early stages of fermentation with the extraction becoming gentler as the wine became dry, and followed with a quiet extended maceration to help modify the richness and mouthfeel of the wine. The wine was lightly pressed into small French oak barrels where it rested for 14 months.
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.
To create a better experience for you across all of our brands, we’ll check this info with accounts across the Treasury Wine Estates Portfolio of brands: Beringer, Beaulieu Vineyard, Etude, Hewitt Vineyard, Stags' Leap Winery, Sterling Vineyards, Penfolds, and The Wine Shop.
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