2007 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir
Freeman's only vineyard-designated Pinot Noir comes from Marcy Keefer's ranch located in the Russian River Valley, on Green Valley School Road. The Russian River Valley is a broad appellation in Sonoma County with quite a few areas of different microclimates. It is warm enough in the northern part for grapes like Zinfandel and Cabernet, but in the southern and western parts, the Russian River Valley is much cooler, and is perfectly suited for Pinot Noir. Keefer Ranch sits in the center the Green Valley, which has always been considered one of California's ideal spots for Pinot Noir. Marcy, her son Craig, and their small crew hand-farm the Keefer Ranch year round with no outside help at all.
The vintage of 2007 was a winemaker’s dream in many respects. The summer weather was warm but not too hot, which predicted ripe but not overripe fruit. The fruit set, cluster weights and berry sizes were all on the lower side, so this told us we could expect excellent concentration. September cooled down beautifully, and ripening slowed to a crawl: just what we like.
However, in early September at Keefer Ranch, we were seeing ripeness ahead of most of our other vineyards. Typically Keefer is one of the later sites where we pick. It comes in during the second half of September, most years. The small crop at Keefer in 2007 evolved quickly, and we ended up bringing in the Clones 23 and 777 right after Labor Day.
This beautiful, fruit-forward wine offers a subtle stylistic shift from the three previous vintages of Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir. On the nose, appealing aromas of black cherry and rhubarb dominate, as opposed to Keefer’s more signature floral elements. On the palate, it is noticeably softer in acidity than earlier Keefer bottlings. For those who prefer to pop and pour, rather than decant for several hours, this is a great chance to enjoy a Keefer Pinot in all its youthful glory. This said, we do anticipate the wine improving with a few years of bottle aging, so try a bottle now, and lay a few down for later.
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
10 months in 100% French oak
August 8, 2008