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Etude Carneros Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Carneros, California
  • RP91
  • D91
  • WE92
  • RP90
  • WE93
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4.5 2 Ratings
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Winemaker Notes

The Etude Pinot Noir Carneros Estate 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.

True ruby in color, the 2008 Pinot Noir bottling offers aromas of strawberries and sous bois mingled with aromatic woods. Hints of sandalwood and cedar on the nose are followed by elegant fruit flavor on the palate. Berry, plum and a cherry core introduce the wine. The saturated cherry and confiture notes are rounded out by brown spice, clove and oak toast on the finish. A lushness arises from the warmer growing season, creating a lively and defined Pinot Noir with freshness and length.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
The Wine Advocate

The least expensive offering, the 2008 Pinot Noir Estate exhibits copious aromas of forest floor, strawberries, black cherries and hints of Allspice and herbs. Medium-bodied, beautifully textured and complex, it is ideal for drinking now and over the next 5-6 years.

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Etude
Etude, , California
Etude
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.

South Africa

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An underappreciated wine-producing country currently undergoing a renaissance, South Africa has a surprisingly long and rich history considering its status as part of the “New World” of wine. In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century. Today, however, it is increasingly responsible for high-quality wines that are helping to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot, but the Benguela current from Antarctica provides the brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening. Similarly, cooler high-elevation vineyard sites offer climatic diversity.

South Africa’s wine regions are divided into region, then smaller districts, and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for earthy, gamey reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following behind.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

EMP15185_2008 Item# 108521

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