2005 Carneros Estate Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Etude Estate Vineyard
California: Carneros - Los Carneros (Napa)
What we say
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Mission Codename: Att-Etude!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate the Etude Winery and recover an ample quantity of their fabled 2005 Carneros Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery:Etude Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Pinot Noir Carneros Estate
Winemaker: John Priest
Backgrounder: The Carneros region, which straddles Napa and Sonoma Counties, is famous for producing incredible wines. Particularly Pinot Noir. Today’s Etude Carneros Pinot is the best we have tried from them! Agent Red was dispatched to investigate today’s wine and you can read his tasting profile and mission report to learn what makes today’s wine so special
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This pretty wine has the appearance of dark pomegranate juice, changing color from ruby red to slightly pinkish only at the edges of the wine. When swirled, the surface of the wine appears tight and springy but settles quickly, leaving behind a unique staircase of evenly-spaced, skinny legs that emerge slowly and then streak down the glass
Smell – An opulent and lush rush of layered raspberry, strawberry, and cherry, with earthen oak, soft spice and soft minerals
Feel – Plush and soft with a velvety roundness, across the entire palate. After a moment, the wine grips in at the tip of the tongue as medium tannins emerge, also drying the inside the cheeks and lips with a soft minerality
Taste – Complex and delicious, presenting a Burgindian character with, dark cherry, black tea, smoky raspberry, earth, soft spice and softer oak
Finish – Ultra long, starting slightly tart and dry – then, sweet dark-flavors and a gentle minerality emerges as flavors tail off slowly
Conclusion – Etude declares that this wine is styled Burgundy, but with California roots. This is an apt description, but its not the complete story. This wine is lush and delicious, with a ton of character that is a great wine for those in search of a serious French-style Pinot Noir – without sacrificing the delicious fruit of a Cali. This wine show a beautiful balance between the two, with lush flavors that are complimented by the bright Carneros fruit of Etude’s estate vineyards. With enough character to drink on its own, this wine also possesses a bright acidity that makes it a great compliment to most fine meals.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Etude Estate vineyards and winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Our goal is to produce a distinctly styled Pinot Noir of the highest quality, a wine that can satisfy any “Burgundian” urge and yet be proud of its California roots. With a rich and vivid hue, the 2005 Estate bottling offers inviting and expressive aromas of fruit spice, red fruits, minerality and a soft, earthy note. Beautifully structured, the palate bursts with lifted flavors of black cherry, black plum and perfume. The lush fruit combined with the baking spice notes from aging in French oak broadens the mouthfeel and gives this full and rich wine definition and length.
WINEGROWING: The Etude Estate Pinot Noir hails from our 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 the Etude Estate site are variations of volcanic origin. They are well drained, rocky upland soils. Combining these soils with the extreme western location closer to the Pacific Ocean makes this site a decidedly distinct destination.
The vineyard parcels were customized to conform to the various soil types and the changing contours of the topography. Individual vineyard blocks average only 8 acres in size. The spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. As stewards of the property, we remain steadfast in our commitment to adhere to sustainable agricultural practices that enable us to farm in concert with the surrounding environment. The 2005 harvest was longer than average and offered moderate temperatures and very low yields. The moderate weather allowed for slow, yet deliberate, ripening—allowing the grapes to achieve full flavor development and mature tannins, while retaining vitality and expression.
The Estate Pinot Noir is aged for 12-14 months in the finest French oak barrels. The wines are subject to a rigorous selection process whereby only the best casks are chosen for the Etude label.
About The Winery:
What began twenty five years ago as a philosophical state of mind is now a state-of-the-art winemaking facility where the ancient art of winemaking is pursued with a singular passion.
Etude Wines is dedicated to mastering the craft of winegrowing. In classical music, an etude is a composition with a technical focus that allows the musician to practice a particular technique. Similarly, Etude wines are the product of deliberate concentration on the instructive variables of the craft. The end game is not edification alone, but rather the wine itself as a source of enjoyment. Chopin piano etudes are notoriously difficult but sublimely beautiful… this is an example of the practicing craft transformed to art.
Founder and self described winegrower Tony Soter puts it this way: “There’s no better vehicle with which to study or practice the craft of winemaking than Pinot Noir. It is the most challenging, unforgiving and quixotic of all wine grapes, and yet the most delicate and transparent.” “Make no mistake it is a humbling pursuit, but when it’s right, Pinot Noir is a glorious and moving thing. It is in the pursuit of that experience that we all work.”
Laboring alongside Soter in this oenological quest for perfection are veteran winemaker Jon Priest and viticulturalist Franci Ashton. Together, this talented trio works to transform the very finest Carneros and Napa Valley grapes into world-class wines sought out by the most discriminating wine lovers. In addition to its widely acclaimed Carneros Pinot Noir and legendary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Etude has also developed a loyal following for Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Merlot.
About The Vineyard:
Etude Estate Vineyard – Tucked away in the far northwest corner of the esteemed Carneros Appellation is a rambling tract of grazing land that is bisected by the Rodgers Creek Fault Line at the southern toe of Sonoma Mountain. Unlike customary Carneros acreage, which is largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils on the Etude Estate site are variations of volcanic origin. They are well drained, rocky upland soils. Combining these soils with the extreme western location closer to the Pacific Ocean makes this site a decidedly distinct destination (if not entirely atypical for Carneros).
Unlike many vineyards that are planted in grids that maximize efficiency, the blocks for Etude’s Estate Vineyard were customized to conform to the various soil types and the changing contours of the topography. Individual vineyard blocks average only 8 acres in size. The spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit.
Mindful of their roles as stewards of this special property, the Etude team adheres strictly to sustainable agricultural practices that enable them to farm in concert with the surrounding environment. Native flora and naturally occurring wetlands have been protected, and creeks are being restored. Wildlife has been afforded safe passageways through the vineyards.
Nearly twenty Pinot Noir clones, including 10 preciously low yielding heirloom varieties, have been planted in Etude’s Estate Vineyard. As the grapes approach harvest, they are protected from hungry starlings by a falconer and a team of trained falcons. This novel, low impact method of crop protection is yet another example of Etude’s commitment to natural and sustainable winegrowing methods.
Already Etude’s Estate Vineyard is producing fruit that is unsurpassed in our experience. According to Tony Soter, “I am confident that the quality is so superior and distinct it will set us apart from all other Carneros sources.”