Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir

Each vintage since our inaugural 2002, Freeman has released an Akiko’s Cuvée. Akiko Freeman and her winemaking staff taste each barrel of Pinot in the winery from that vintage and choose their favorites. Then, each person’s top barrels are  put together in a blend (or cuvée), and we subsequently taste each of the samples  blind, so that no one knows whose favorite barrels are in which blend. We call this Akiko’s Cuvée since her blend almost always wins this blind tasting.

The four vineyards from where Freeman sourced Pinot Noir in 2019 are represented  in the Akiko’s Cuvée. The largest percentage of the blend comes from Freeman’s  Yu-ki Estate, near Occidental. The two Swiss clones, 2A Wadenswil and 23 Mariafeld along with two of the Dijon clones, 114 and 828, are the ones Akiko selected from Yu-ki. Freeman’s other estate vineyard, Gloria, made up the next highest portion of the Cuvée. The Swan and Calera blocks from right next to the winery were the preferred clones for the 2019 Akiko’s. KR Ranch and the Pratt Vineyard combined for the remaining third of the 2019 Akiko’s Cuvée. We’ve been working with clones 777 and 23 from KR (formerly known as Keefer) since  2004. Jim Pratt’s 2A clone has been a favorite of Akiko’s since we first started working with that site in 2005.

After the dream-come-true vintage of 2018, 2019 was an almost identical year. There was quite a bit of rainfall in the very cool winter of 2019. This led to a late budbreak, similar in timing to 2018. The growing season was perfect, with our typical pattern of warm, sunny afternoons followed by cool and foggy evenings and mornings. It was a Pinot Noir year for sure.

The 2019 Akiko’s Cuvée is the darkest wine of the vintage for Freeman. There’s so much going on with the aromas of this wine, it takes hours in a decanter or in the glass to decipher all the complexities. There’s the fruit forward notes of  Gloria and KR, with deep berry, plums and floral scents. Then there are the more  earth-driven aspects, like fresh herbs, forest floor and cola that come from Yu-ki  and Pratt. On the palate, you’ll find the elegant mouthfeel we have come to expect  from Akiko’s Cuvée. The balance between fruit and acidity is perfect. Enjoy this from 2022 through 2032.

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  • 37% Yu-ki Estate
  • 31% Gloria Estate
  • 16% KR Ranch
  • 16% Pratt
Barrel Aging
11 months in French oak:
  • 20% new
  • 15% one-year-old
  • 25% two-year-old
  • 30% three-year-old
  • 10% neutral
July 2020
5-day cold soak in open top fermenters, hand punched down 1 to 3 times per day, free run sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately
  • 750 ml: 418 cases
  • 1.5 L: 22 cases


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