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Professional Ratings: 91 International Wine Cellar, 90 The Wine Advocate, 90 Burghound.com
Region: Carneros, California
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Other Info: Green Wines
Item no. 91572
The inaugural release of Etude Carneros Pinot Noir hails from their vineyard tucked away in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlikecustomary 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, rockyupland soils. Combining these soils with the extreme western location closer to the PacificOcean makes this site a decidedly distinct destination.
Etude's goal is to produce a distinctly styled Pinot Noir of the highest quality, a wine that can satisfy any "Burgundian" urge and yet beproud of its California roots. The 2004 Estate bottling is bright and engaging with aromas of cola, cranberry and graham crackers supported by subtle notes of nutmeg. Beautifully structured and lush, the mouth is loaded with complex layers of cherries, brown spices and hints of roasted meats that surround silky tannins that persist throughout a long finish.
Good bright red-ruby. Perfumed aromas of raspberry and loamy earth; this conveys an impression of sweet Burgundian funk. Intensely flavored and bright, with pure flavors of raspberry and violet. Lovely ripe acids give precision to the wine. There's a slight wildness to the berry fruit but little of the candied character apparent in many North Coast pinots from the 2004 vintage. Finishes firm and bright. From vines picked mostly in August.
The 2004 Pinot Noir reveals a dark plum/ruby color, sweet forest floor, pomegranate, plum, and cherry notes, medium to full body, superb integration of wood, acidity, and tannin, and an attractive, complex finish. Already drinking well, this wine should continue to drink well for another 5-7 years.
Initially the nose displayed noticeable oak but with extended airing, it lessened and became all but invisible and allowed the ripe dark briar and earth aromas to take center stage. The medium full flavors are nicely concentrated with an attractive natural sweetness and underpinned by moderate tannins that should permit 4 to 7 years of positive evolution. This is delicious yet serious and finishes with fine balance and none of the greenness that sometimes negatively affects Carneros pinots. In sum, this is solid juice that will repay extended cellar time.