On a recent jaunt to Napa Valley, I stumbled upon Etude Winery on the very outskirts of the Napa city limits. Tucked off a sleepy two lane country road, I thought I’d stop in and check out the old Remy Martin Brandy Distillery site which is now home to Etude Winery. Out with the Cognac and in with the Pinot Noir.
For a better appreciation of the wines, it’s key to understand the terroir. Carneros AVA is shared by Sonoma County and Napa County and is revered for its cool growing climate, replete with fog and maritime breezes off the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay. The combination of low daytime temperatures, an array of volcanic, coarse sand and gravel soils and the influence of the Petaluma Wind Gap, make for ideal growing conditions for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Etude‘s flagship Grace Benoit Ranch is planted to seven clones of Pinot Noir, nine+ clones of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and two clones of Merlot and Malbec.
Nothing prepared me for what I was about the discover inside the old distillery.
Not only was Etude‘s tasting room a show-stopping masterpiece, but the wine tasting experience was one of the best I’ve encountered in a long time, thanks to Greg Sweval, Hospitality Sales Manager and the amicable and knowledgeable Wine Club Ambassador, Angel Aguirre-Benites. [Read more…]