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The White House

We are honored that the White House featured our Ryo-fu Chardonnay at a recent State Dinner welcoming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the United States. Read more.

Akiko Freeman

LE.PAN: The small Sonoma winery with Asian ambitions; “We don’t manipulate anything. We just try to grow the best fruit and bring out the best of it. That’s our philosophy.” Read more.


International Wine Report
Freeman Winery’s 2015-2016 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Releases from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast

Last week, we met with Ken Freeman, proprietor with his wife Akiko of Freeman Vineyard & Winery, to taste through his new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir releases from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. Ken and Akiko launched the winery in 2001 and today produce some 6 thousand cases of first-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Freemans source grapes from their Gloria Estate Vineyard, Yuk-ki Estate Vineyard and top neighboring vineyards in Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast. Akiko serves as winemaker, having acquired her knowledge of viticulture and winemaking by apprenticing with veteran winemaker Ed Kurtzman who now serves as consulting winemaker.

We previously tasted the Freeman wines two years ago and were impressed with their quality. This year’s new releases are at least as good. In general, the Freeman wines are approachable young and reveal excellent winemaking. This year we saw some improvements in some of the wines, especially in the Ryo-fu Chardonnay and the magnificent Pinot Noir, Akiko’s Cuvée.

Freeman Winery is one of some 25 wineries that form the West Sonoma Coast Vintners (WSCV). These vintners are passionate about farming along the mountainous coastline of western Sonoma County. Following on our previous Report #44 The Wines of Sonoma County, the IWR plans to prepare a new report on the West Sonoma Coast wineries in 2019 to educate readers on the exciting developments taking place there.

Wine Reviews and Ratings

Freeman Winery 2016 Chardonnay Ryo-fu Russian River Valley ($45) 92 This is a delicious Chardonnay, exemplary of the top producers in Sonoma Country. Picked early and fermented in 10% new French oak, the 2015 Ryo-fu Chardonnay offers bright tropical fruit aromas and flavors in a light and leesy format. It is beautifully balanced and reveals a crisp persistent finish.

Freeman Winery 2016 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($45) 90 The 2016 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley consists of grapes from the winery’s Gloria Estate Vineyard (50%), Keefer Ranch (40%) and Sexton Vineyard (10%) and is aged 10 months in 30% New French oak. Russian River Valley in character, it is ripe and perfumed with aromas and flavors of dark cherry fruit. It is concentrated with firm tannins at this stage of development and needs additional time in the bottle for maximum drinking pleasure.

Freeman Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($45) 90 A 50-50 blend of grapes from Campbell Ranch and the Yu-ki Estate Vineyard, the 2015 Pinot Noir Coast Pinot Noir exhibits the high acidity and freshness typical of Pacific Coast cool climate Pinot Noir. If offers medium-light red berry fruit aromas and flavors with considerable elegance and concentration on the palate.

Freeman Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Yu-ki Estate Sonoma Coast ($68) 91 The 2015 Pinot Noir Yu-ki Estate is an elegant wine offering light berry fruit and high acidity. It is a new wine in the line up since we last tasted Freeman Estate’s wines and it is a welcome addition. It is not in the same league as Akiko’s cuvee, but is still first-class.

Freeman Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Gloria Estate Russian River Valley ($68) 92 The 2015 Pinot Noir Gloria Estate is sourced from a 9 acre parcel in Green Valley planted with Calera, Swan and Dijon clones.It is soft and elegant on the palate revealing dark cherry fruit. Aged in 30% new French oak, it shows excellent balance and a persistent finish.

Freeman Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Sonoma County ($62) 93 The Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch is sourced from a 40 year-old vineyard planted with the Wadenswil clone in 1982. Dark ruby in color, it offers aromas of ripe black cherry and plum. It is soft and velvety on the palate with good concentration of flavor. Aged one year in 30% new French oak, which is nicely integrated.

Freeman Winery 2015 Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvee Sonoma Coast ($72) 94 Akiko’s Cuvee consists of the 10-12 favorite barrels of the winemaker, Akiko Freeman. It is a gorgeous wine, rich and classy with pure red berry fruit and hints of plum and violet. It is beautifully focused with firm round tannins and a persistent finish. An impressive wine, more elegant than the 2013 vintage we tasted a few years ago and shows great aging potential.

Sonoma Magazine
5 West County Wineries to Visit Right Now

West Sonoma County – or simply West County to locals – is one of the most beautiful rural areas of the North Bay. From farm to ocean, the area west of Highway 101 offers boutique and luxury wineries producing highly coveted wines in settings that inspire a deep admiration for nature and an appreciation for the craft of winemaking.

LE PAN
The small Sonoma winery with Asian ambitions

Akiko Freeman and her team at the Freeman Vineyard and Winery in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley AVA, make less than 5,000 cases per year of their widely acclaimed Burgundy style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

They could easily sell every bottle locally, but she and her husband Ken – who runs an investment firm in San Francisco – lived in Hong Kong during the 1990s, and are keen to have their wines appreciated in a city they grew to love.

Those wines are a labor of love. Akiko became enamored of wine – and of Burgundy in particular- while growing up in Japan.

Akiko Freeman and her team at the Freeman Vineyard and Winery in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley AVA, make less than 5,000 cases per year of their widely acclaimed Burgundy style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

They could easily sell every bottle locally, but she and her husband Ken – who runs an investment firm in San Francisco – lived in Hong Kong during the 1990s, and are keen to have their wines appreciated in a city they grew to love.

Those wines are a labor of love. Akiko became enamored of wine – and of Burgundy in particular- while growing up in Japan.

- See more at: http://www.lepanmedia.com/the-small-sonoma-winery-with-asian-ambitions/#sthash.sufQjjfb.dpuf
People Magazine
The White House State Dinner Menu Is Making Us Very Hungry and Very Jealous

The new china has been selected and the menu is set for Tuesday night’s White House State Dinner.

So it’s time to feast.

President Obama and Michelle Obama are hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, for the dinner-to-remember on April 28. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is the guest chef for the evening, joining the culinary forces of White House executive chef Cris Comerford and executive pastry chef Susan Morrison to create a one-of-a-kind menu.

“I am deeply honored to be the guest chef for tomorrow’s #StateDinner at the @whitehouse hosted by President @barackobama and First Lady @michelleobama in honor of Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe of #Japan!” the Japanese chef posted to Instagram.

The first course, Toro Tartare and Caesar Sashimi Salad (pictured below), is wrapped in clear acetate and tied with a Mizuhiki cord, Yahoo Food reports.

The second course, Vegetable Consomme En Croute and Shikai Maki, is a tribute to FLOTUS’s kitchen garden. The main course is American Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Spring Vegetables and Maui Onion Veal Jus.

The showstopper of the evening is definitely dessert, which includes a blown sugar teapot decorated with edible cherry blossoms and surrounded by petit fours as well as cheesecake made of silken tofu and soy milk with Florida berries and White House honey.

The dinner will include a sake toast and three American wines, all from California: the 2013 Ryo- fu Chardonnay from Freeman Vineyard & Winery, founded by Ken and Akiko Freeman in Sebastopol; the 2010 Joli Coeur Pinot Noir from Morlet Family Vineyards in St. Helena; and the 2007 Russian River Cuvee sparkling wine from Iron Horse Vineyards, also in Sebastopol.

Cherry blossoms are the decor du jour for the dinner, with Washington’s signature flowers gracing everything from the red chopsticks to the table’s centerpieces.

And that’s not all! The guests will be entertained by the stars of the film Jersey Boys. Sounds like quite the party.

—Morgan Gibson, @morgangibson

Forbes
Seven Great California Pinot Noirs to Try This Year

2013 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast—Think cool-climate winemaking elegance and you have the essence of the Freeman wines. Winemaker, Akiko Freeman, grew up in Japan and brings an innate sense of balance to her wine. The cuvée bottling, a blend of the winery’s best barrels each vintage is especially gorgeous with notes of black cherry, violets and earth.


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