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Tasting Etude Pinot Noirs

2006 Etude Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $42. Aged 12-14 months in French oak barrels. Only the best barrels were chosen for the Etude bottling. · Heavenly scents of fresh black cherries and strawberries with a subtle touch of oak spice kept me returning to the glass. Delicious black cherry and black raspberry fruit core with a hint of strawberries and oak toast. Impeccable balance, silky tannins and commendable persistence on the snappy finish. A fine drink and a noticeable departure from the previous three vintages of this wine.

2006 Etude Deer Camp Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 960 cases, $60. · This is a marvelous wine full of vim and vigor with no rough edges. Lovely aromatic profile of slightly confected black cherries and black raspberries with wood spice, herbs and a touch of good barnyard. Smooth and seamless in the mouth with gossamer tannins and sporting a juicy black cherry core followed by a taunting, teasing finish. The real deal.

2006 Etude Temblor Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 495 cases, $60. This site in the Etude Estate Vineyard is on a gradual slope that faces east and is influenced by the Petaluma Gap daily intrusion of fog. · The scents of wild berries, candy cane, allspice and truffle are long and persistent. A panoply of red fruits, particularly cherries and berries, are demure yet very satisfying. Vibrant acidity provides a juiciness and the pillowy tannins create a velvety texture. Impeccably balanced and a perfect example of why Pinot is my paramour.

2005 Etude Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $42. · Dark reddish-purple in color. Extremely ripe and roasted dark fruits with notes of prune and fig on the nose. An earthy and darkly fruited wine showing mushroom and forest floor character and a clean and tangy finish redolent with grapefruit.

2005 Etude Deer Camp Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $60. · Complex and intriguing aromas of spiced black cherries, wet stones, stem, raisin and oak. Dark red fruits are well composed and juicy with mild soft tannins and an appealing smooth texture. Drinks nicely but a step below the 2006 vintage.

2005 Etude Temblor Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

13.5% alc.,495 cases, $60. Inaugural release of this wine, the second vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from the Etude Estate Vineyards. · Aromas of red cherries, herbs and peppermint lead to delicious flavors of cherries, herbs, oak and forest floor. Noticeable but unobtrusive fuzzy tannins and a dry finish that lingers. A good drink.

2005 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 1091 cases, $90. · Subdued nose of deep, dark plummy fruits and clove. The aromas just don’t seem like they have arrived yet. Juicy dark red stone fruits dominate the entry and mid palate, finishing with toothsome tannins. A little ponderous and unexciting now but the wine should become more expressive with time in the cellar.

2004 Etude Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 8, 000 cases, $42. Aged 12-14 months in French oak barrels. · Rich aromas of black cherries and strawberries with a hint of oak char. Subdued dark stone fruits with some oak char and a citric tang on the finish. A little more oak shows through than the wonderful 2003 version and this wine is now more reserved.

2004 Etude Deer Camp Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 470 cases, $60. The first vineyard designated Pinot Noir from the Etude Estate vineyards. This wine is named for an old deer camp structure that stands at the base of the vineyard. The parcel is so unique that it is considered a “vineyard within a vineyard.” The low vigor soil is rocky and well drained contributing to the small size of the vines. · Deep dark purple color. The fruit is overripe displaying notable aromas and flavors of raisin and port. A bold expression of Pinot Noir with deep dark fruits flanked by earth, game and feral notes. Noticeable tannic backbone and lively acidity. The cooked fruit nature of this wine was not to my taste.

2004 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 40 barrels, $70. · Regal nose of black raspberry, new oak and spice. A juicy and earth-kissed cherry and berry core fans out nicely on the palate with oak char and anise in the background. A perfectly balanced wine with vibrant acidity and ripe tannins. This wine is enthralling and seems to reach every nook and cranny in the mouth. A magnificent Pinot with very powerful charisma.

2003 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 8,200 cases, $40. Naturally adjusted crop levels. No heat at harvest meant excellent fruit condition at harvest. This wine was part of the first crush at the new Etude Carneros winery. · Appealing aromas of black cherries, cola and oak. In the mouth the wine is pure and stylish with flavors of black cherries, strawberries and a touch of mocha with a lip smacking citrus tang to the finish. Smooth and silky and extremely well balanced. This wine is now perfectly integrated and drinking beautifully.

2003 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 38 barrels, $70. First bottle opened was corked. · An intense wine of admirable balance with crisp acidity. Aromas of dark cherries and berries are accented by oak and barnyard. Flavors of cherry syrup, blueberries and pomegranate are plush and satisfying. A great food wine.

2002 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 30 barrels, $70. · Very lovely complex aromatic profile featuring black cherries, oak char, Asian Five Spice and dark chocolate. A pleasing core of dark cherries and berries is highlighted by oak and loamy earthy. A persistent and aromatic black raspberry finish demands another sip. Perfectly proportioned with soft tannins and ample acidity. Mercy!

2001 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 34 barrels, $70. · A richly sculpted wine with juicy dark red cherries and berries and an appealing earthiness. Aromas of incense and savory herbs add interest. Rich and bold with a velvety fullness that coats the mouth. A very sensual wine that aims to satisfy.

2000 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 20 barrels. · Very dark reddish-purple color. The fruity nose initially features black raspberries and black currant fading in the glass to reveal more oak and herbs. Dark red stone fruits and berries saturate the palate with hints of mocha and leafy vegetables. Soft tannins create a smooth drinking experience that finishes with a citrus tang. Reminiscent of an aged Gevrey- Chambertain village wine from a good vintage.

1998 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 16 barrels. · Attractive aromas of blackberry, earth, oak and barnyard. Plenty of powerful and brooding dark berry fruit with generous tannin still on board. Fuzzy in the mouth with decent acidity and a short, dry finish.

1997 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 16 barrels. · A tad better than the 1996 vintage with less Brettanomyces. Aromas of smoke and Maraschino cherry with flavors of black raspberry, prune and earth. Lively acidity and silky in texture with a clean and persistent finish. Down and dirty. Lovers of old Pinot may find solace here but the wine doesn’t deliver much interest for me.

1996 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 12 barrels. · This wine is burdened by Brettanomyces. Dark-fruited and plummy with a citrus note on the finish. A chunky wine whose tannins have receded but the fruit is diluted and the wine lacks any charm.

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