As Santa Barbara County’s northernmost AVA, Santa Maria Valley is renowned for its unique funnel created by the only two transverse mountain ranges running east to west on the whole west coast of North America. Pinot Noir excels in this well-known transverse valley, which accentuates the cooling maritime influence that Santa Maria already enjoys due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
“Black raspberry and blackberry fruit approach a black-cherry rich¬ness on the nose of this bottling that also shows aromas of slate and roasted meats. The palate tightens up around dried elderberry and cranberry, tangy but deep fruit flavors that are enhanced by crushed juniper and dried pine needles with earthy tones of clay, loam and slate.”
Black tea, cola and cinnamon spice give a complex touch to concentrated flavors of raspberry, cherry and blackberry in this Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. The wine’s balance and depth are apparent on the fruit-driven palate and the saturation of fruit settles into a long, rich finish.
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. Fruit from one select block, located on a bluff in the southern, cooler end of the canyon, was chosen for this Pinot Noir. In order to achieve the same high level of quality wines, the farming of North Canyon is uniquely hands on, which ensures viticulture practices and farming measures are comparable with that of Etude’s Estate Vineyards.
The 2014 growing season in Santa Barbara County began even and warm, which brought early bud break and created ideal conditions for fruit set. The warm weather continued well into the summer months with no major heat spikes, and the consistent, moderate temperatures stayed favorable throughout the fall. The overall dry season made for a short and condensed harvest, but the resulting moderate yields of Pinot Noir fruit showed exceptional depth and concentration.