Gloria Estate Pinot Noir

Gloria is Freeman’s estate vineyard, located adjacent to the winery. Ken and Akiko acquired this site—previously an apple orchard—from a neighbor in 2005 and planted it the following year. They named the vineyard for the orchard’s owner, Gloria, and especially for the fortuitous event that brought Ken and Akiko together in 1985. Ken had been on a sailboat heading south in the Atlantic when Hurricane Gloria forced him to spend the night in port.  That evening he attended a friend’s party where he met Akiko—the best- dressed and most beautiful woman in the room. The rest, of course, is history.

Sitting just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Gloria vineyard is blessed with a steep hillside for optimal drainage, Goldridge sandy loam soils, and a climate that is sunny but unusually cool, moderated by fog. The Freemans planted the 8-acre vineyard to heritage Pinot Noir clones—Swan, Calera and Pommard—along with Dijon 115. Due to extreme weather conditions and high elevation, yields vary from just 1 to 2 tons per acre. Because Gloria  is a difficult site to farm, with steep hillsides and varying exposures, Akiko works closely with Freeman’s vineyard team on all decisions regarding this challenging and rewarding vineyard.

The 2020 growing season was ideal for Pinot Noir despite lower-than- average rainfall, and the vintage looked very promising. However, in August, California was hit with thousands of dry lightning strikes that sparked wildfires up and down the state. Our Gloria Estate Pinot Noir was just about ready to be harvested when fires broke out in the Healdsburg and  Sonoma Coast areas, blanketing the region with thick smoke. We quickly sent fruit samples from Gloria to the laboratory, and the results showed no detectable smoke taint. Harvest started during the last week of August, immediately after we received the good news, and we picked before the smoke  had time to penetrate the grape skins. Due to the fires, Gloria was the only vineyard from which we harvested Pinot Noir for still wine in 2020.

The 2020 Gloria Estate Pinot Noir displays a deep purple color, along with gorgeous aromas of red roses, maraschino cherries, walnuts and subtle tar. The palate is firmer than that of its sibling Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, with moderate acidity and a stronger tannic backbone. Deep and perfectly ripe, the wine has berry notes accompanied by French oak flavors that carry over to the incredible finish. We recommend letting the 2020 Gloria rest until late 2022, and it should continue to drink well through 2033. 

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Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% Gloria Estate, Russian River Valley
Clones
  • 22% Dijon 115
  • 25% Swan
  • 32% Calera
  • 15% Pommard
  • 6% Martini
Barrel Aging
11 months in French oak:
  • 30% new
  • 25% one-year-old
  • 10% two-year-old
  • 20% three-year-old
  • 15% neutral
Bottling
July 2021
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: 475 cases

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