Etude Rosé, Santa Barbara County 2018

Deep salmon-gold color; strawberry, white peach, cherry, flowers on the nose; strawberry, blood orange, watermelon, white peach, cherry on the palate.

Etude Rosé, Santa Barbara County 2018

Dry; fruit-forward; excellent, crisp acidity (3.15 pH), some minerality. Light in the mouth. Mostly pinot noir; fermented 100% in stainless steel; no malolactic fermentation; 13.2% ABV. Enjoy well chilled on deck, patio, poolside. This is Etude’s entry level rosé; they also make a rosé of pinot with grapes from their premium Grace Benoist Ranch Vineyard in Carneros.

Pinot noir grapes for this effort came from the Santa Maria Valley, the northernmost AVA in Santa Barbara County. It standout feature is a funnel created by two transverse mountain ranges running east-west. The Etude website notes: “Pinot Noir excels in this well-known valley that, despite its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, is uniquely situated just north of Point Conception, right where the climate is warm and mild enough to ripen grapes to full maturity. Less than twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean, North Canyon Vineyard sits along the Santa Maria river bench in a secluded canyon that provides some protection from the region’s renowned maritime influences.

“Located a bit off the direct valley, temperatures are often a few degrees warmer and North Canyon is exposed to extended periods of sunshine that ensure Pinot Noir matures to a bright red fruit character. A variety of rootstocks and clones are planted in calcareous clay sandstone at North Canyon, which differs from the valley’s defining marine mixture of ancient sea bed, clay loam and sand. North Canyon is farmed to exceptional sustainable standards, and is certified by SIP (Sustainability In Practice).”

Tony Soter established Etude 1982 to realize a commitment to high-end pinot noir and, then, chardonnay. Jon Priest has been the winemaker at Etude since 2005. He succeeds because he believes wines are made in the vineyard, not 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 winemaker Jon Priest

The winery is Napa Green certified land and winery. Solar panels supply a third of Etude’s energy needs. Recycled water is used for landscape irrigation. Employees manage a composting and recycling program which diverts a large percentage of waste away from landfills. Etude also takes pride in their employee-cultivated garden, with a portion of the produce donated to the Napa Food Bank. It is certified California sustainable winegrowing and certified fish friendly farming.

Etude Rosé, Santa Barbara County 2018 delivers fresh strawberries and white peach, framed by very crisp acidity and minerality. Pretty in the glass and lively in the mouth. Can work as an aperitif; pair with seafood; raw and light cooked shellfish; grilled fish’ light pasta and rice dishes; light salads; goat cheeses. $25

Etude Wines website

Tony and Michelle Soter
Entrance to Etude Winery
Etude Winery
Etude Winery tasting room
Grace Benoist Ranch vineyard