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WTN: 3 Etude Pinot Noirs

geo t.

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We were fans of Tony Soter's Pinots long before I had the chance to interview him last October, and the following three selections do nothing to deflate our generally high opinion of them. The two half bottles were tasted side by side, with Kim and this taster differing in our preference for one over the other.

1998 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir, 375 ml, $19.99, 13.5% alc.: There's just a hint of brick to the ruby garnet color of this fine Pinot Noir; on the nose, it shows alluring aromatics of smoky plum, black cherry and cola that follow through in the broad, fairly dense flavors with some added notes of chocolate, mushroom and forest floor, all of which are anchored with an earthy base. Moderately tannic, with balanced acidity, this is drinking quite well right now, and if it could finish a little longer, that's the only complaint I have here, and a small complaint it is.

1999 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir, 375 ml, $19.99, 13.5% alc.: Ruby garnet in color, with a stingy nose that's not giving much; the flavors pick things up nicely with earthy, candied black cherry, with moderate tannins, zippy acidity and a somewhat truncated finish. Not too complex, but enjoyable for what's there; Kim likes this one better than me, calling it "eminently drinkable."

The following wine was greatly enjoyed with Dan and Carol Myers and Scott "The Geek" Tobias.

2001 Etude Carneros Pinot Noir, $37.99, 14.5% alc.: A smoke tinged ruby garnet, this features spicy clove and a nice kiss of sweet oak over rich smoky black cherry with a hint o' cola; Dan added an impression of pumpkin pie spice, while Kim mentioned a little horsey barnyard and leather. Showing a little more earth on the palate than on the nose, with medium to medium full body, fine tannins and excellent but not excessive acidity, this strikes an elegant balance, leaving a long, lingering finish. Rich, sweet and perfumed, it is a lovely Pinot Noir, one of the best Etudes we've had, and it still has three to five years of improvement ahead of it.

-From More Pinots on Parade

Reporting from Day-twah,

geo t.

George Heritier aka geo t.

The Gang of Pour

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