Virtual Wine Tasting Featuring Etude Winery with Special Guest Winemaker John Priest

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 06:00 PM

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"To make a great wine one needs a madman to grow the vine, a wise man to watch over it, a lucid poet to make the wine, and a lover to drink it." - Salvador Dali, Spanish Painter 1904 - 1989


We have a lot of great virtual wine tastings coming up over the next few months including one of my favorite California wineries that our good friend Tony Soter founded.  I have been following his handy work since the early 1990's when I was the wine buyer at Cafe Maxx.  In fact, I used to have people in the business tell me that I even looked like Tony.  Tony actually sent me this Salvidor Dali quote so I felt that it would be fitting to use this for an e-mail promoting this tasting and although he is no longer with Etude Winery our host this evening worked with Toni at Etude since 2005.  The wines have just got better and better over the years as the folks from Treasury have invested money to improve the winery and quality of fruit going into Etude’s wines. 

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for our virtual tasting!


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Join us as we welcome John on Wednesday, August 5th at 6pm EST.  We will be showing three wines from Etude winery and we have a three pack listed on this e-mail and in the Wine Watch gift Box section of the Web page if you want to follow along you can purchase all three in one pack or any of the wines individually.


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Virtual Wine Tasting Featuring Etude Winery
with Special Guest Winemaker John Priest
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
6:00 PM


Virtual Tasting Wines


Virtual Tasting 3 Pack Etude Winery image

2018 Etude Rose
2017 Etude Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir
2015 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa


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Topic: VIrtual Etude Winery Tasting with Special Guest winemaker Jon Priest​
Time: Aug 5, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)​

Join Zoom Meeting​
​Meeting ID: 944 7625 6415​
Password: 7uHXha


All of the Etude wines in the store:
2018 Etude Rose Santa Barbara                
Price: $19.50               Sale $17.16

A lovely rose gold trending toward salmon hue is distinctive in the glass, leading to aromas of fresh cut strawberry, white peaches and pleasant floral aromas of tree blossoms. Flavors are similar, adding blood orange, watermelon, nectarine and cherry. Vibrant and lifted acidity, some minerality and a lingering, quenching mouthfeel.

Etude Pinot Gris 2018 |

2018 Etude Pinot Gris Carneros    
Price: $27.50               Sale $24.20

Simply pretty and light on its feet, this classic Pinot Gris offers a solid acid backbone with aromas and flavors of pear, applesauce and stone fruit, with hints of quince, lime and peach blossoms. A touch of spice adds intrigue, leading to a notable, persistent finish.

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2015 Etude Chardonnay Carneros
Price: $25.50               Sale $22.44

From six special acres in the heart of the Grace Benoist Ranch, Etude's estate Chardonnay is iconic, representing all that is memorable about Carneros. Vibrant yet elegantly restrained, the wine is crafted as a showcase for the fruit, without malolactic fermentation and the lightest touch of oak. Aromas and flavors of classic Chardonnay signatures—including Bartlett pear and crisp green apple—are joined with lemon zest, citrus blossom and mineral notes. A solid acid backbone, with great structure and balance, are the hallmark of this wine each vintage.

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2017 Etude Pinot Noir Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros   
Price: $33.50               Sale $29.48

A vibrant red ruby color, this Carneros Pinot Noir shows lifted red berry fruit flavors and aromas of fresh strawberry, Bing cherry, and raspberry, along with the signature cinnamon graham cracker spice found in our Grace Benoist Ranch Pinots Noirs. Appealing and bright, concentrated red fruit comes through on the palate, alongside delicate mineral earth and spice notes, followed by a lush mouthfeel and silky tannins. Youthful and fresh but with the potential to age for up to 10 years.

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2015 Etude Fiddlesticks Pinot Noir Carneros       
Price : $49.50              Sale $43.56

Sta. Rita Hills is home to some of Santa Barbara’s best-known Pinot Noirs and occupies the western portion of Santa Ynez Valley between Buellton and Lompoc. The region’s east-to-west orientation, extreme proximity to the Pacific Ocean and ancient marine bed soils are perfect for world class Pinot Noir.


2015 Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
Price: $101.25             Sale $89.10

The Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is handcrafted with grapes from unique benchland vineyards representing the major sub-appellations of Napa Valley. Sure to continue gaining complexity and revealing additional character with age, the wine is suitable for immediate enjoyment or cellaring for another two decades.


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A bit about John Priest:

Raised on the Central Coast, Carneros reminds me of the small communities of my childhood. There is a mix of agriculture, ranching and vineyards, the laid-back nature of the people and the familiar cool ocean breezes. Pinot Noir was my early inspiration to pursue winemaking and winegrowing, a quest that brought me to Etude and the pastoral hills of Carneros.

Jon Priest strongly believes and lives out the Etude philosophy. This has allowed for the continual cultivation of the highest quality wines, reflective of  the profound influences of the land and the season, as well as the hand of its steward; hence, the concept of winegrowing.


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A bit about Etude Winery:

In music, an étude is a composition built on a technical motive, essentially to hone skills, but one that can be played for its own intrinsic artistic value.  If the old adage "practice makes perfect" applies to winemaking as it does to music, then Tony Soter, the founder, owner, and winemaker of Étude Wines has it down pat.  For a long time Tony Soter has been known to the world of wine as the artist who was the driving force in creating, developing, managing, and making the great Cabernet Sauvignons of Napa's Spottswoode Vineyard.  However, local cognoscenti who follow the scene even more closely have been watching Tony Soter's solo effort since its inception in 1982.  Now that Étude is becoming more available on a national level, thanks to an increase in production, Soter's own brand may eventually become as well known as Spottswoode.

Tony Soter's winemaking career began in 1975 in the cellar at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars at about the time the famous 1973 Cabernet was being bottled (that Cabernet went on to win the famous 1976 Paris Bicentennial Tasting in which it vanquished some of the top French Bordeaux).  Tony came to wine via the study of philosophy with an eventual legal career in sight, but serendipity would have it that a college job selling wine blunted his legal leanings and piqued his palate for wine.  After the brief stint at Stag's Leap, he went to work for Stonegate Winery while doing postgraduate work in chemistry, enology, and viticulture at U.C. Davis.  In 1976 Tony spent the harvest at Napa's Spring Mountain Winery and then went on to Chappellet Vineyards, where he became the winemaker there in the summer of 1977.  Soter's talents became quickly evident with the 1977 Chappellet Cabernet - one of the top wines of the 1977 vintage.  Soter's intellectual prowess and obvious natural talent for winemaking earned him a reputation that burgeoned rather quickly, and a number of California wineries began to seek out his services on a consulting basis.  Over the course of the next few years, Soter had a hand in making some great wines with clients like Cain Cellars, Far Niente, Ritchie Creek, Sequoia Grove, Shafer and William Hill.  In 1982 the Novak family, proprietors of the Spottswoode Estate, hired Tony to completely handle all aspects of Spottswoode wines from vineyard management to winemaking.  When the 1982 Spottswoode Cabernet was released, it caused something of a sensation among critics and consumers - we can remember few Cabernet producers that debuted so auspiciously.  Since that first release in 1982, Spottswoode has continued an unbroken string of successes right through the 1998 vintage.  Spottswoode has been consistently in our list of top ten Cabernets of the year for the past decade in The Wine News.  Soter has never rested on his laurels.  He has taken on winemaking duties at Napa's Niebaum-Coppola, Viader, and Araujo Estate as well as an unusual winemaking project at the Moraga Estate in Bel Aire, Los Angeles. Some of the red wines he has made at Araujo and Viader have drawn rave reviews and have catapulted those estates to the very top of the Napa Valley elite.  Soter’s associate Mia Klein now serves as a consultant to Spottswoode, Araujo, Viader and Dalla Valle as rumor has it- Tony is a full-time dad.  His winemaking career taking a bit of a hiatus over the last year.

The original intention of Étude was to produce only Pinot Noir, and the name Étude was intended to thematically convey his approach to winemaking, which is fundamentally an exploration of the elements of style.  By his own account Soter “consciously focuses on technique to achieve the desired results in a California context.  Subscribing to the Socratic ideal of continually searching for wisdom through challenging assumptions, Étude Wines are dedicated to learning something about the winemaking craft.  Perhaps because Pinot Noir, in particular, is so difficult to master, the name also implies a certain humility of approach toward the most technically and stylistically demanding of table wines.”  Although we had heard much about the very limited Étude Pinot Noir, we did not have an opportunity to sample it until the 1985 vintage.  This wine was quite a revelation and was certainly one of the finest Pinot Noirs made from Napa Valley fruit that we had ever tasted.  In 1985 Soter also released his first Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that we dubbed "rookie of the year" for Cabernet producers.  Cabernets produced at Étude since that first vintage have been excellent and sometimes outstanding. Soter has been experimenting in recent vintages with a small amount of Pinot Blanc (about 350 cases) and Pinot Gris (50 cases).  In addition, he produces one of the finest rosés (a Rosé of Pinot Noir) made in California.  Current production of Pinot Noir is about 6000 cases; and Cabernet is about 1500 cases.

Today, Tony is still making some of the best Pinot Noir that Oregon has to offer.  Beringer Blass Wine Estates bought the Etude label in 2001, they had been searching for a strong Pinot Noir label and to have Tony Soter added to their all-star line-up of winemakers was another feather in their cap, but this arrangement came to an end as Tony is now focusing solely on Soter winery in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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