KR Ranch Pinot Noir

From 2004 through 2015, Freeman made a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from Keefer Ranch in the Russian River Valley. When the Dutton family took over the management of this famous block in 2016, we came up with a new name for it: KR Ranch. The property sits in the center of the Green Valley, located in the southern and western parts of the Russian River Valley. This area is much cooler than those at the appellation’s northern end, so it is ideally suited to growing Pinot Noir.

If there’s one vineyard that made it through the region’s five-year period of drought and early harvests without much variation in crop size or quality, it was KR Ranch. 2018 was the most incredible growing season we’ve seen in decades, and KR showed off its remarkable consistency with yet another year of excellent fruit. After a slightly smaller crop in 2017 due to the heat wave, the 2018 yield was back to normal. This was also one of the first years that our KR Ranch blend included a higher percentage of the Dijon 777 clone than Swiss 23, when it’s usually a 50-50 split, or a higher percentage of 23.

The color on the 2018 KR Ranch Pinot Noir is darker than usual, possibly the result of the vintage’s longer hang time. KR is normally a little shy on the nose at first, but the rose petal and cranberry fragrances eventually reveal themselves. The wine has plenty of acidity on the palate—the highest of all of our 2018 Russian River Pinots. Along with rich, bright fruit, the wine has an elegant mouthfeel and round tannins. This vintage should be at its best from 2021 through 2029.

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Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% KR Ranch, Russian River Valley
Clones
  • 55% Dijon 777
  • 45% Swiss clone 23 (Mariafeld)
Barrel Aging
10 months in French oak:
  • 19% new
  • 15% one-year-old
  • 4% two-year-old
  • 8% three-year-old
  • 54% neutral
Bottling
July 2019
Fermentation
Five-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, hand-punched down one to three times per day. Free-run juice sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately.
Production
  • 750 ml: 473 cases
  • 1.5 L: 30 cases