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Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 2004

Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
  • RP90
  • BH90
0% ABV
  • WW91
  • WW91
  • WW90
  • RP91
  • D91
  • WE90
  • RP91
  • WE92
  • RP90
  • WE95
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  • WS91
  • WE90
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Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
BH 90
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.
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Etude, Carneros, California
2004 Carneros Estate Pinot Noir
The underlying philosophy at Etude Wines is that winemaking begins in the vineyard, long before the grapes are harvested. Winemaker, Jon Priest, believes that superior grape growing diminishes the need for intervention by the winemaker, resulting in authentic varietal expression.


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Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. Its close proximity to the San Francisco Peninsula and the San Pablo Bay is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo Bay create a cooling effect ideal for producing wines with crisp acidity and balanced flavors.

This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and more recently, Old-World style Syrah. While more delicate than most wines from neighboring regions, these are firmly structured, complex, and full of flavor. Carneros is also an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

BOBCARNEROS_2004 Item# 91572