Etude Wines

Owner(s) Foster's Wine Estates
Web site www.etudewines.com
 
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Etude Wines

Etude is a pioneering winery in the Napa Carneros region started by noted winemaker Tony Soter. Tony launched Etude Wines in 1980 with the release of a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, but quickly moved into Carneros Pinot Noir (first release in 1982), Napa Valley Pinot Blanc, Napa Valley Merlot, Carneros Pinot Gris, Brut Rosé sparkling wine and Vin Gris of Pinot Noir (one of the first and still one of the best in California).

The winery was initially an underfunded side project that he indulged in while he worked his day job as a consulting winemaker to other wineries. The name "etude" refers to a musical term for a focused study or technical exercise to perfect technique. Etude Pinot Noir was a proprietary label as Tony owned no vineyards. He developed contracts with growers which allowed him to farm his blocks to his own strict specifications. His wines quickly attracted considerable attention from the wine press and Pinot Noir aficionados. By 1999, Tony was able to end his consulting career to concentrate full time on Etude and develop his own Pinot Noir vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

The winery was sold to Beringer Blass (Fosters Wine Estates) in 2001 and a new winery was built. Tony made his last wines at Etude in 2002 and moved to Oregon permanently. He still consults for Etude. Jon Priest joined Etude as winemaker in 2005. He previously had stints at Wild Horse Winery, Adelaida Cellars and TAZ. The associate winemaker is Rob Fischer and the viticulturist is Franci Ashton.

Etude Pinot Noir until 2004 was sourced from selected Carneros sites. The wines are now composed exclusively of fruit from estate vineyards located in the northwestern corner of the Carneros appellation. The soils are unique for Carneros which is mostly riverbed and bay bottom clay soils, as Etude's vineyards possess several variations of well-drained, rocky upland soil of volcanic origin.

The winery is a Napa Green Certified Winery, affirming Etude's commitment to conserving water and energy, reducing waste, and preventing pollution.

The Pinot Noir lineup includes a Carneros appellation bottling, a special Heirloom Pinot Noir made from heirloom clones of Pinot Noir and two vineyard block-designates - Temblor and Deer Camp. The unique, volcanic soiled estate vineyard in the northwest corner of the Carneros appellation is planted to over twenty Pinot Noir clones, including ten that are "heirloom" clones. An inexpensive Pinot Noir, Lyric by Etude, is also offered. A single vineyard AVA series of Pinot Noirs debuted in 2012 including wines from Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, the Sonoma Coast, and the Willamette Valley.

The tasting room at 1250 Cuttings Wharf Road (off of Highway 121) is open daily from 10:00 to 4:30. Designed by talented architect Matt Hollis, there is art on the walls, a towering ceiling, and comfortable seating. Formal one hour seated tastings including a Reserve tasting and a wine and food pairing are available by appointment (up to 8 people): 707-257-5300. The wines are sold largely through a mailing list with the Carneros Pinot Noir having the widest retail distribution.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Etude Estate Grown Carneros Rosé

13.8% alc., $16. · Pale pinkish-orange color in the glass. Very shy nose with faint aromas of red berries, citrus and new hay. Light and shallow with a core of red berry and orange peel flavor and a welcoming tang on the finish. Source: winery and retail. Decent. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2010 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $42. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very muted nose despite intensive swirling in the glass. The black cherry core is lighter in this vintage but flavorful and this wine has a more noticeable cut of citrusy acid on the finish. Nicely spiced with subtle oak notes in the background and a fresh cherry ending. At this stage, the flavors trump the nose, and I would hold off another six months. Good. Hold. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $42. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of cherries and dried herbs including sage. A little rustic, but with an appealing attack of black cherry and blackberry fruits, holding on with impressive persistence on the spicy, beefy, black cherry driven finish. Noticeably seamless. Very good. Drink up or hold. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., $42. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherries that take on intensity over time in the glass. More body and fruit presence in this vintage with a plush core of dark red and black fruits wrapped in tarry, vanilla-laced oak. Finishes with a touch of heat. Decent. Drink up or hold. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2007 Etude Los Carneros Pinot Noir Rosé

14.0% alc., 2500 cases, $20. · Pale pink color. Rich nose of red berries, rhubarb, and a hint of smoke. Shallow red berry, especially strawberry, flavors with a hint of herbs. Slightly dry finish with bright acidity. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »

2007 Etude Estate Grown Carneros Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $30. · Nuanced aromatic profile showing baked plum, toasty bread, leather jacket and a little smoke. Typical Carneros flavor profile of dark stone fruits, cassis and earth. Decent intensity, and soft and smooth on the palate. The wine grows on you a bit over time in the glass, and I had no complaints, but no superlatives either. Good. Reviewed April 23, 2010 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $42. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very appealing nose offering an array of dark red and black stone fruits, spice and rose petal. Mid weight flavors of black cherries and cassis with a riff of beefy mushrooms. Balanced firm, dry tannins with a very dry, flavorful finish. Very good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Etude Wines Tremblor Carneros Pinot Noir

This is Etude’s second vineyard designate Pinot Noir. · A complete wine that displays Tony Soter’s genius. Beautiful spiced cherry and strawberry aromas and flavors perfectly weighted with demure tannins and perky acidity. Reviewed March 23, 2008 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 1,091 cases, $90. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex array of aromas including plum sauce, damp forest floor, herbs, mushrooms, spice and rose petals. Juicy and very tasty with middleweight flavors of black stone fruits and grilled mushrooms. Still sporting muscular tannins. Very good. Drink up or hold. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2004 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 8,000 cases, $42. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aged bouquet of black fruits, cigar, dried rose petal, and a Prada leather coat. Fresh flavors of blackberries, black raspberries with an earthy, grilled beef undertone. Some savory spice shows up as well. Modest in richness, but highly flavorful with balanced tannins and a pleasing finish. Has aged beautifully. Very good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2004 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 1,000 cases, $70. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very expressive nose offering bright aromas of black cherries, sandalwood and spice. Delicious array of dark fruits, veering to the ripe side, with hints of sassafras, smoke and tea. Very silky on the palate with supple tannins and some finishing persistence. Clearly the best of the five Heirloom wines tasted today showing good power but great balance. Very good (+). Drink up or hold. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2003 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 8,200 cases, magnum, $40 (750 ml). · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam, oak cask, clay and cigar box. A charming wine with fresh fruit expression including flavors of dark red and black berries and black cherries with a hint of dark caramel. Very soft and silky on the palate. Not quite the intensity of the 2002 vintage, but still sumptuous. Very good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2002 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., magnum. · Medium reddish-purple color without bricking in the glass. Initial aromas of earth, leather, black tea and cigar box give way over time to more black plum fruit. Very soft and smooth on the palate with restrained tannins and a delicious array of dark red and black fruits accented with notes of tea leaves, spice and oak. Juicy and satisfying with plenty of fruit holding court on the finish. Very good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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! Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2002 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 750 cases, $70. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is rich with very ripe stone fruit and dark berry aromas with a slight medicinal note. Discreetly concentrated black plum flavor with a hint of savory herbs and Asian 5-spice. Finishes with drying tannins. Good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2001 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 850 cases, $70. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, raspberries and flower garden. Soft on entry and exit with a very rich and tasty core of black cherry, black raspberry and black plum fruits accented with notes of savory herbs and grilled mushrooms. Still sporting a firm tannic backbone, finishing with impressive length. Very good. Peaked, drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

2000 Etude Heirloom Carneros Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 500 cases, $70. · Moderately light reddish-purple color with slight edge bricking in the glass. Aromas of cigar box and soy sauce. Middleweight flavors of dark berries, currant, and plum with an earthy undertone. Definitely showing its age, but still offers some enjoyable fruit and respectable length on the finish. Good. Drink up. Reviewed May 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »