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.
"Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir Deer Camp Vineyard offers a beautifully earthy nose of forest floor, mossy bark and truffles with a core of black cherries, mulberries and red currants, plus wafts of sandalwood and charcoal. Medium-bodied and elegantly crafted with fine, grainy tannins and a lively backbone, it has excellent persistence." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2017
Balanced, dynamic and robust, our 2015 Deer Camp Pinot Noir is emblematic of the distinctive rocky vineyard site where it is grown in Grace Benoist Ranch. Aromas of boysenberry, cranberry cassis, unripe plum, truffle and earth intermingle on the nose. Delicate savory flavors guide a lively acidity and structured, sinewy tannins. This wine culminates in a beautifully balanced, robust finish.
After three years of plentiful harvests, the 2015 vintage brought low, but outstanding yields. A mild spring and summer with almost no rain allowed the fruit to ripen at a very steady and deliberate pace, and picking began a few days earlier than 2014. The drier-than-normal conditions and abundant sunshine contributed to the smaller berry size and low yields, resulting in wines with excellent concentration, color and flavor.
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 handpicked at night to preserve freshness and acidity. 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 13 months. The wine was bottled with no fining or filtration.
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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