Etnyre Wines is a close second for best pinot at Garagiste 2022 Paso Robles. They make pinot noir and syrah. We were greeted by Ethan and Karen Etnyre. Both were charming. Ethan’s knowledge of every detail of the grapegrowing and winemaking process was impressive (to say the least). You can learn a lot about grapegrowing and winemaking from their “Our Story” page. We really appreciate the time they took with us.
Their wines are San Luis Obispo County AVA, Quin’s Vineyard. Quin is their son, now 22 years young. Sadly, he wasn’t there. In fact, he has never worked behind the table at a wine event. Come on, Quin! You get to meet interesting people like us!
The Etnyres were pouring their Quin’s Vineyard 2017 and 2018 pinot noirs. Both are $40. The 2017 opens with aromas of forest floor and Bing cherries. The palate is very earthy with more forest floor and a nice acid balance. This one could use a few more years in the bottle. Jeb Dunnuck gave it 91 points.
The 2018 reveals the difference between vintages. Aromas of strawberries and spice with more forest floor notes. The palate has notes of earth and raspberry, with less earth than the 2017. Mr. Dunnuck rated it 90 points, probably because this vintage is unlikely to develop as much over time as the 2017.
The Etnyres planted the first vines in Quin’s Vineyard in 1998. They’ve been making wine since 2005. Originally, they planted only the 2A clone. Later they added clones 114, 667, and 777. John Alban of Alban Wines to plant their first vines. Also props to them for taking UC Davis viticulture and enology classes. They learned very well.
In a recent experiment, they planted … well, let them describe it.
A single row of own-rooted Torrontés, an Argentinian white varietal, was planted within the original Syrah block. These grapes are harvested and co-fermented with the Syrah, producing our own spin on one of the finest regions of the Rhône – the Côte Rôtie.
Torrontés is the most popular white wine in Argentina, sometimes called the chardonnay of Argentina. Unlike chardonnay, this grape has floral quality similar to vioignier. We look forward to trying their first bottling of their new blend.
Ethan has a non-traditional family history. Let him describe it:
Enjoying wines with friends and family are some of my best memories growing up in the Chicago suburbs. These wines were often accompanied by very tasty foods. When my wife and I moved to the Central Coast of California in 1992, we found ourselves living in an extremely high quality viticultural area of California. Twelve days after arriving on the Central Coast, we were fermenting grapes in a 32 gallon food grade plastic barrel in the basement. We were hooked. After 13 years of home winemaking and UC Davis Viticulture and Enology classes, we released our first vintage of Etnyre Wines in 2005. We remain a micro winery with clear focus on our 2 acre estate vineyard producing the finest small volume lots on the Central Coast of California.
Jeb Dunnuck has also reviewed the 2015, 2019, and 2020 vintages. At $40, the wines are a bargain. Please don’t tell Ethan and Karen!