Gloria Estate Pinot Noir

A nose with purpose, that opens nicely with swirling, revealing aromas of dark raspberry, spice and sous-bois. Very charming and silky in the mouth with vivid flavors of black cherry and purple berry fruits underlain with a thread of savory herbs. Expansive and layered in the mouth, with nice harmony and a gentle demeanor.

2015 marks Freeman’s fourth-ever Gloria Estate Pinot Noir, from the hillside vineyard adjacent to our winery. We named our estate vineyard for the hurricane that brought Ken and Akiko Freeman together in 1985. Ken was on a sailboat headed south, into the Atlantic, when Hurricane Gloria forced Ken and crew to beat their way landward and spend the night in port. That evening Ken went to a party, where the best-dressed, most stylish woman there was a beauty named Akiko. The rest, of course, is history in the making. The other important Gloria reference is to the woman of the same name who sold Ken and Akiko several acres adjacent to our property. Part of our vineyard lies on Gloria’s old apple orchard.

In 2006 we planted our eight-acre estate vineyard to the heritage clones Swan, Calera, Martini, Pommard and Dijon 115. Today, Akiko Freeman works closely with our vineyard manager to make all the decisions at Gloria. It is not an easy site to farm, with its very steep hillsides and different exposures, from the top of the hill to the bottom.

Of all the vineyards where we saw reduced crops in 2015, Gloria Estate produced the lowest yield. The vines got off to a promising, early start over the course of a warm, fairly dry winter; but then May cooled down to well below normal levels, right in the middle of flowering. Set was uneven, and the tiny Pinot clusters at Gloria gave us only six tons of fruit from eight acres. On the positive side, the quality of the fruit was exceptional.

With subtle aromas driven as much by terroir as by fruit, the ripeness of the 2015 vintage comes through more on the palate than on the nose of the Gloria Estate Pinot Noir. Once tasted, you appreciate the full development of the wine, with its bright berry flavors, supple tannin and moderate acidity. As with every vintage of Gloria since the first in 2012, this is the real crowd pleaser in the Freeman lineup. Expect the ’15 Gloria to be at its best from late 2017 through 2025.

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Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% Gloria Estate, Russian River Valley
Clones
  • 27% Calera
  • 27% Swan
  • 18% Pommard
  • 17% Dijon 115
  • 11% Martini
Barrel Aging
11 months in French oak
  • 12% new
  • 25% one-year-old
  • 19% two-year-old
  • 38% three-year-old
  • 6% four-year-old
Bottling
August 2nd, 2016
Fermentation
Five-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, hand-punched down one to three times per day, free run sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately
Production
  • 750 ml: 333 cases
  • 1.5 L: 15 cases

Scores

93 points
95 points (Cellar Selection)

Accolades

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.

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