Etude Pinot Gris, Grace Benoist Ranch Vineyard, Carneros 2022

Pale gold color; white peach, pear, green apple, lime, cantaloupe, almonds, minerality, white flowers on the nose and palate.

Etude Pinot Gris, Grace Benoist Ranch Vineyard, Carneros 2022

Dry; good but not cutting acidity; no tannins. Light-medium body with slight oiliness, viscosity. Refreshing. Superbly balanced with lush texture and impressive depth and richness thanks to time spent on the lees. Grace Benoist Ranch fruit consistently delivers nuance and complexity. 13.4% ABV

Pinot gris grapes harvested at night into small bins and rushed to the winery to preserve freshness and fruit. Whole cluster pressing, then fermented in small stainless steel barrels and aged sur lie for four months. No oak, no malolactic fermentation/conversion. This vintage has more aromatics than the 2021 and slightly more acidity. The 2022 year was optimal for ripening, while 2021 struggled some with drought. That said, these are subtle differences and Etude consistently produces quality across its product line, respecting the nuances of vintage’s climatic variables.

Tony and Michelle Soter

Tony Soter established Etude 1982. The Carneros AVA was founded the next year. The Grace Benoist Ranch was developed in 2000 with nine Heirloom pinot noir clones, eight additional pinot noir clones, and seven chardonnay clones. The same year, Robert Parker awarded the 1999 Etude Eden Rock Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 98 points.

The first crush of Grace Benoist Ranch grapes occurred in 2003; the following year, the first pinot noir grapes came into the winery. In 2010, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate awarded Etude Heirloom Pinot Noir 93-plus points. Etude was firmly entrenched as a Carneros star. If a vineyard can produce good pinot noir, it can produce its near relative—pinot gris is a mutation of pinot noir.

Grace Benoist Ranch vineyard

Grace Benoit is in the northwest corner of Carneros. Soils primarily are volcanic rather than clay. Website notes: “Individual vineyards average only eight acres in size and spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. Grace Benoist Ranch is farmed to Etude’s exacting standards, using environmentally sound viticultural practices. The Ranch is sustainably farmed and certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance as well as Fish Friendly Farming. At the Ranch, there are four smaller vineyards (Laniger, Deer Camp, Temblor and Heirloom) with five principal unique soil types and 20 distinct Pinot Noir clones.”

Etude winemaker Jon Priest

Jon Priest is Etude’s winemaker. He succeeds because he believes wines are made in the vineyard, not in the winery. The Etude website notes: “Jon headed early to the Northwest, attending Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, but soon returned home as his architect father helped create memorable Central Coast wineries. He worked briefly in a tasting room, and at the legendary Wine Cask in Santa Barbara before joining Wild Horse, beginning a career that led to Adelaida Cellars, to Pinot Noir focused Taz, and on to Etude, where he has spent nearly a dozen years creating memorable wines that tell you where they came from in every sip.”

Etude Pinot Gris, Grace Benoist Ranch Vineyard, Carneros 2022 is bright, fresh, easy drinker that also delivers depth and aromatic intensity. Grapes come from the remarkable Grace Benoist Ranch estate vineyard, a consistent producer of quality pinot wines—both pinot noir and its mutation pinot gris. Superb white wine any time, especially nice chilled to enhance a warm summer repast or relaxation. Pair with chicken—chicken salad; light fish; tuna salad; salads, especially ones that incorporate a fruit element; vegetarian fare; mushrooms; spicy food; cured meats—charcuterie board. Cheese—goat’s milk cheeses, humboldt fog, chevre, mozzarella, feta, young cheddar. $23-28

Etude Wines website

Entrance to Etude Winery
Etude Winery
Etude Winery tasting room