2008 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Each vintage since our inaugural 2002, Freeman has released an Akiko’s Cuvée. Akiko and Ken Freeman, with winemaker Ed Kurtzman and assistant winemaker Eric Buffington, 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 blends, 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.
2008 is a year that the Keefer Ranch makes up the largest portion of the ’08 Akiko’s Cuvée. The gorgeous, soft and fragrant fruit from Keefer is definitely in the style of all previous Akiko’s. Many of the 2008 Pinot lots we made in ’08 were larger-framed than usual for us, but Keefer fit right in with the way an Akiko’s is meant to be.
Two of our Sonoma Coasts sites were the next two contributors with 24% each of the blend. The Guidici Vineyard is an exceptional plot across Bittner Road in Occidental from the new Freeman Ranch. And the Rayhill Vineyard, a few miles southwest of our winery, provided a number of Akiko-style barrels for this year’s cuvée. Our neighbors at Horse Ridge, Louie and Janie, also made it through the strict barrel selection process as well as Jim Pratt’s Sexton Vineyard.
The 2008 Akiko’s Cuvée has its typical shy nose at first, and it seems to be kind of a cross between the ’08 Sonoma Coast and Russian River Pinots. Some of the SC cool climate spice is intertwined with the ripeness of the RRV in the aromas as they start to emerge from the glass. The palate has a delicacy and bright acidity reminiscent of the ’08 Keefer PN. As is typical with the Akiko’s, you should probably wait a year or two to open them. We anticipate the ’08 Akiko’s being ready in 2012 and it should gradually mature for another 8 or more years.
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