Etude Pinot Gris 2014
What began thirty 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 the study of 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.
Working together in this oenological quest for perfection are current winemaker Jon Priest and Ast. Winemaker Rob Fischer. They 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 and Pinots from the most sought after AVAs around the world.
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. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.
Showing a unique rosy, purplish hue upon full ripeness, this “white” variety is actually born out of a mutation of Pinot noir. The grape boasts two versions of its name, as well as two generally distinct styles. In Italy, Pinot grigio achieves most success in the mountainous regions of Trentino and Alto Adige as well as in the neighboring Friuli—all in Italy’s northeast. France's Alsace and Oregon's Willamette Valley produce some of the world's most well-regarded Pinot gris wine. California produces both styles with success.
In the Glass
Pinot Gris is naturally low in acidity but full ripeness is necessary to achieve and showcase its signature flavors and aromas of stone fruit, citrus, honeysuckle, pear and almond. Alsatian styles are aromatic (think rose and honey), richly textured and sometimes relatively higher in alcohol compared to its Italian counterparts. As Pinot Grigio in Italy, the style is often much lighter, charming and fruit driven.
The viscosity of a typical Alsatian Pinot gris allows it to fit in harmoniously with the region's rich foods like pork, charcuterie and foie gras. Pinot grigio, on the other hand, with its lean, crisp, citrusy freshness, works well as an aperitif wine or with seafood and subtle chicken dishes.
Given the color of its berries and aromatic and characterful potential if cared for as it is allowed to fully ripen, the Pinot grigio variety is actually one that is commonly used to make "orange wines." An orange wine is a white wine made in the red wine method, i.e. with fermentation on its skins. This process leads to a wine with more ephemeral aromas, complexity on the palate and a pleasant, light orange hue.