To be honest, I wasn’t really aware of all the vineyard designates from all over California and even Oregon this winery produced. If you would have asked me an hour ago, I would have said “Carneros”. They have nearly as many Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills offerings as Sonoma! Some of the who’s who in vineyard names. I’m not sure where ‘North Canyon’ is in SMV, but this is good stuff: showing all the things we love SMV for. Transparent dark pink-ruby right out to the edge. Not an effusive nose. Tight and timid, the dusty warm glow of cherry and earth mingling with an ever-so-slight barnyard funk.
But tasting it produces an explosion of flavor: Dark gritty berry introduces peppery briar and subtle acidity, creating a rounded, well-balanced wine–but one poised on tip-toes. Creamy to a point where the sharp pangs of structure prod the quite-thin middle. Tannin is a situation impossible to ignore, but it is a cat’s-tongue sort of velvet ache: interwoven so well with the dark fruit. Savory in finish, it seems to be a wine with several items fighting each other inside. It wants to be light but the fruit is delirious. It wants to be thin but the chunky core resists. It wants to be smooth but the tannin and briar have other plans. It wants to be Syrah but the Pinot just won’t let it. It wants to skip and chew bubble-gum but keeps tripping on the important things.
2018 ETUDE WINES Pinot Noir North Canyon Vyd Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. Central Coast 13.5