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.
Acclaimed as a 'perfect' growing season, the 2012 vintage began with exceptional, moderate weather that brought virtually no harm to the grapes all the way through fruit-set. The ideal long and mild days continued into the summer and were followed by a cooler-than-normal period at the end of September, allowing for preservation of fruit aromatics, freshness and natural acidity. 2012 will be remembered for its abundance of high-quality fruit, which deliberately ripened to full and balanced maturity thanks to the notably cool temperatures.
The Etude Carneros Pinot Noir hails from our estate vineyard tucked away in the far Northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlike customary Carneros acreage, which is largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils on Grace Benoist Ranch are variations of volcanic origin. Combining these well-drained, rocky upland soils with the extreme western location closer to the Pacific Ocean make this site an ideal place to grow Burgundian varieties. The vineyard parcels on Grace Benoist Ranch are customized to conform to the various soil types and the changing contours of the topography. Individual vineyards average only 8 acres in size and the spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. As stewards of the property, Etude remains steadfast in our commitment to adhere to sustainable agricultural practices that enable us to farm in concert with the surrounding environment.
The Carneros Estate Pinot Noir undergoes cold maceration and small lot open-top fermentation with extended time on the skins, and is then aged for 12 months in the finest French oak barrels (25% new). This deliberate lesser percentage of new oak enhances the wine's dimension and structure and still allows the beautiful fruit flavors to take center stage. The wines are subject to a rigorous selection process whereby only the best casks are chosen for the final blend. The goal is to produce a Pinot Noir that is of the highest quality and reflects the unique terroir of Etude's estate vineyards.
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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