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.
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 2016 Pinot Noir North Canyon Vineyard is one of the most finessed wines in the Etude range. Then again, that is the nature of what the best sites in Santa Maria can offer. Bright, finely sculpted and nuanced, the 2016 is all class. Bright red cherry, raspberry, white flowers and mint are all woven together in a Pinot that exudes class.” - Antonio Galloni, December 2018
“Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, it features notions of chocolate-covered cherries, raspberry tart and wild strawberries with hints of garrigue, forest floor and black tea. Medium-bodied with a solid structure of grainy tannins, it has wonderful freshness and a tons of earthy accents on the finish.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
The signature of North Canyon Pinot Noir is a noticeably darker red fruit tone, and this vintage is no
exception, given its beautifully saturated ruby red color. Notes of boysenberry, young plum and black
cherry intertwine, ushering in nuances of rooibos tea leaves and oak spice. Elegant tannins develop
into a supple texture and bright acidity provides a rich buoyancy. This wine has balance, depth and
complexity that remains on the palate long into its finish.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off.
However, a very warm spring and early summer with almost no rain allowed the fruit to ripen at
a very steady and deliberate pace. July and August brought cool nights and gentle warmth to the
Santa Maria Valley that allowed the smaller-sized crop to mature perfectly, producing small berries in
pristine condition. The drier-than-normal conditions and the region’s abundant sunshine resulted in
wines with excellent concentration, balance, color and intensity, resulting in Pinot Noir fruit showing
exceptional depth and finesse.
Crafted with the same minimal winemaking techniques as Etude’s celebrated Carneros Pinot Noirs, each regional wine purely reflects the unique essence and character of its regional vineyard and still maintains Etude’s hallmarks of aromatic intrigue, vibrancy of expression and depth in ageability.