As Santa Barbara County’s northernmost AVA, Santa Maria Valley is renowned for its unique funnel created by two transverse mountain ranges running east by west. Pinot Noir excels in this well-known transverse valley that, despite its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, is uniquely situated just north of Point Conception, right where the climate is warm and mild enough to ripen grapes to full maturity.
“Lots of blueberry and ripe-strawberry aromas with light burnt lemons. Full-bodied and tight with chewy tannins that are polished and pretty. It’s long and driven with plenty going on. This is a precise and focused red. Try after 2023.” - James Suckling, August 2021
“The 2018 Pinot Noir North Canyon Vineyard is gorgeous. Crushed red berries, rose petal, dried flowers, spice, blood orange and earthy notes are all laced together in this super-expressive, resonant Pinot from Etude. This is a terrific expression of Santa Maria.” - Antonio Galloni, March 2021
“Coming from Santa Maria Valley, the 2018 Pinot Noir North Canyon Vineyard is produced from mid-1990s plantings. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak, 25% new. Medium ruby-purple colored, the nose opens with a delicately scented perfume of Bing cherries, redcurrants and raspberry leaves with touches of lavender, stewed black tea and bouquet garni. The medium-bodied palate has impressive restraint, slowly releasing red berry and savory flavors with compelling freshness, finishing with satiny textured, soft-spoken floral and herbal notes. 4,000 cases were made.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
The signature of North Canyon Pinot Noir is a noticeably primary red fruit tone and this vintage is no exception, given its beautifully saturated ruby red color. Notes of bright red cherry, young plum, red currant and raspberry all pop in the glass and combine with exotic nuances of rooibos tea leaf and sweet oak baking spice notes of vanilla and clove. Soft, plush tannins lead to a supple mouth filling texture and bright acidity, contributing a signature buoyancy of character. This wine has balance, depth and complexity, remaining on the palate long into its finish, and hinting at the ageability of this Pinot Noir.
A near perfect season was very much welcomed after several tense vintages. What may be considered a ‘classic’ vintage, the wines from 2018 show tremendous intensity and complexity. Santa Barbara County provided a mild to warm summer, with a cooler autumn, allowing the grapes to remain on the vine until they reached ideal maturity. While the quality of the grapes was phenomenal, our overall yields were down slightly due to smaller berry size and clusters. The fruit was harvested in late September, yielding wines with beautifully balanced acidity, exceptional weight and texture, and complex varietal flavors.
Less than twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean, North Canyon Vineyard sits along the Santa Maria river bench in a secluded canyon that provides some protection from the region’s renowned maritime influences. Located a bit off the direct valley, temperatures are often a few degrees warmer and North Canyon is exposed to extended periods of sunshine that ensure Pinot Noir matures to a bright red fruit character. A variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in calcareous clay sandstone at North Canyon, which differs from the valley’s defining marine mixture of ancient sea bed, clay loam and sand. Fruit from one select block, located on a bluff in the southern, cooler end of the canyon, was chosen for this Pinot Noir. In order to achieve the same high level of quality wines, the farming of North Canyon is uniquely hands on, which ensures viticulture practices and farming measures are comparable with that 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.
|Oak Treatment||100% French oak barrels (25% new) for 12 months|
|Blend||100% Pinot Noir|
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