2017 Etude Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros Pinot Noir



For many wineries “made in the vineyard” is just a passing buzz-phrase. But not at the Grace Benoist Ranch. Here, when they use the words “state of the art,” they mean it in a unique and special way—one that results in amazing Pinot Noir.

Spanning three AVAs, Grace Benoist Ranch is completely sustainable in power usage, water rights and usage, garbage and composting. It is entirely animal friendly with large “pass through” or wild spaces for the native species to live within it, to the point that not a single tree has ever been removed from the ranch for human reasons. It is a nature preserve that happens to have a vineyard within it. This philosophical position is not only that the wine is made in the vineyard, but that the vineyard fits and aids nature itself, and when Mother Nature is happy, she makes glorious Pinot Noir.

Of course, none of this philosophical stuff matters if the wine sucks. But it most certainly does not. Here, in this glass, is the game-changing Pinot Noir for all of California:

The ’17 Etude reveals itself with delicious, fully ripe raspberry fruit, freshly baked cinnamon-cranberry scones, pressed Bing cherries and caramelized oranges. The palate is texturally rich – meaning that the flavors draw you into the wine with the first glass simply gliding down and disappearing, and every glass thereafter evolving further and further. You can enjoy it as a cocktail for its extravagantly lush texture. Or, pour it alongside seared salmon with a red wine reduction, flageolet beans with a topping of caramelized shallots, or roasted Kuri squash tossed with almond quinoa.  This is beautiful to enjoy now, yet will age for at least seven more years in your cellar, broadening its fruit and drawing out hints of earthy richness.

What most wineries say about being “made in the vineyard” Etude has taken to a new level – demonstrating that great Pinot is made by the vines, wines, people and Mother Nature all working in harmony. And the glorious proof is right here for you to discover in the glass.

“93 points.

“Dark-berry and blueberry character to this. Full-bodied and linear with tight tannins and a flavorful finish.” – James Suckling

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