2008 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 Keefer Ranch sat through some very cold nights and mornings in the spring of 2008, and there was considerable frost damage. Even the clone 23, which normally produces a large crop, was down quite a bit in '08. As winemakers, we don't mind smaller than normal yields because they typically lead to fully ripe and concentrated wines.

The great, but short, heat wave of August 2008 brought the Keefer Ranch Pinot to the doorstep of ripeness, but once the weather cooled down, we got another two weeks of hang time before the picking decision was made. We received the Dijon clone 777 about one week before the Swiss clone 23, which is a normal ripening gap between those two blocks.

The 2008 Freeman Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir is reminiscent of the soft and fruity 2007 version. There's a beautiful nose of rhubarb, black cherries, spicy oak and cola that seems to change every time you pick up the glass. On the palate, the texture is seductive with perfect acidity and very pleasant cranberry and cherry flavors. The finish is long with toasty oak and fruit. We anticipate the best drinking window to be from 2011 to 2015 for the '08 Freeman Keefer.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% Keefer Ranch, Russian River Valley
Fermentation
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
Barrel Aging
11 Months
  • 35% new
  • 39% one year-old
  • 26% two year-old French Oak
Bottling
July 2009
Production
  • 750 ml: 445 cases
  • 1.5 L: 17 cases

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