Pinot File
2012 Akiko's Cuvee named to the "All American Team."
"Best Akiko's Cuvee Ever - 95 Points

2012 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
405 cases, $62. A barrel selection chosen by Akiko Freeman, Ed Kurtzman and assistant winemaker Mitchell Masotti. A blend of 6 vineyards with the most contributed by Campbell Ranch near Annapolis (clone 777) and the El Coro Vineyard at Keller Estate (Swan and La Tache selection). Aged 11 months in 33% new and 67% 1 to 4-year-old French oak barrels. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose was initially closed for business, opening slowly in the glass with swirling over time to reveal wonderful aromas of blackberry jam, black raspberry coulis, rose petal and spice. Delicious essence of fresh dark berries with hints of cola and Hoison sauce. Modest in weight, but highly flavorful, with suave tannins, a satiny smooth texture and an expansive finish. The balance is spot on and the overall impression is magical. You can drink it now for its elegance, but it will be even better after a few years in the cellar. Best Akiko’s Cuvée ever. 95

Pinot File
Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir
Freeman Vineyard & Winery

The 2012 vintage marks the release of the first vintage from the Gloria Estate Vineyard, situated on a hillside adjacent the winery. Five clones and/or selections were chose by winemaker Akiko Freeman including Swan, Calera, Martini, Pommard 5 and 115 to be planted at this cool corner of the Russian River Valley AVA. A sister vineyard, Yu-ki, located in the Sonoma Coast, is now in full production and along with Gloria will be the focal point of Freeman’s estate wine program. The first Yu-ki Vineyard Pinot Noir will be released in 2015. Visit the newly expanded website at to learn more about these two properties.

Pinot File
¡Salud! 2013 Russian River Valley Immersion Trip Recap
Freeman Winery and Vineyard, Sebastopol

Ken and Akiko Freeman started their winery in 2001 and since then have developed a style of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that appeals to those who savor cool-climate wines with lovely, ripe fruit flavors. The veteran winemaker for many years, Ed Kurtzman, has passed the winemaking duties on to Akiko, and has assumed a consulting posture. The 7-acre Freeman Estate Vineyard (Gloria Vineyard) adjacent the winery will produce a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir for the first time from the 2012 vintage, adding to their portfolio of wines produced from sourced grapes. The winery is built into a hillside cave where Ken and Akiko also hold tastings by appointment. Total production is fewer than 5,000 cases which is sold through a mailing list. The winery offers a Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley appellation Pinot Noir, a Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir, and the Akiko’s Cuvée, which is a barrel selection. An excellent Rosé of Pinot Noir and the Rya-fu Russian River Valley Chardonnay complete the lineup. The wines are distributed to selected retailers and restaurants throughout the United States, and several hundred cases are sent to Japan (Akiko’s birthplace) each year. 

The 2011 Freeman wines were reviewed this past year in the PinotFile ( After a tasting of the 2011 wines in the winery cave, our group was invited into the Freemans’ home on the property for a lunch. We got a sneak peak at the 2012 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir which was very special.

Pinot File
Ten Year Vertical of Freeman Akiko's Cuvee

The wines were simply put, impressive. The earlier vintages had aged beautifully and the most recent vintages were very approachable. This last feature is the rub since many wine lovers will not be able to keep their hands off these wines upon release and therefore not experience the nuances that develop over time in the bottle. The style was consistent, yet the wines reflected vintage differences. Each wine displayed an appealing elegance, a moderate and balanced tannic structure, and crisp fruit expression. Finesse was featured over fruit heaviness, especially evident in the more recent vintages. I found that the most striking aromatic vibrancy and purity began to appear with the 2005 vintage wine. My tasting notes follow. When it comes to older Pinot Noir, there is no absolute rating, only a snapshot in time, but the wines were scored to reflect some current judgment. 

Pinot File
Ken and Akiko Freeman are both card-carrying Pinot fanatics.

Ken and Akiko Freeman are both card-carrying Pinot fanatics. They launched Freeman Winery to produced singularly elegant Pinot Noir and, boy, have they achieved that goal. Guiding the winemaking efforts are Akiko Freeman, Winemaker Ed Kurtzman (also winemaker at Roar Wines and partner and winemaker at August West Wines) and Associate Winemaker Eric Buffington. The Freeman team has really dialed in on a beautiful, focused style of Pinot. Freeman Pinots are sourced from several Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley vineyards including Guidici Vineyard, Keefer Ranch, O'Connor Vineyard, Rayhill Vineyard and Thorn Ridge. Pinot bottlings include regional Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley blends, a vineyard designate from Keefer Ranch and the Akiko's Cuvee. The style is deep, lush, spicy fruit with great structure and silky, silky texture.



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