2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
The 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is Freeman's fifth vintage with this appellation that we started producing in 2004. As opposed to the cooler, later-ripening Sonoma Coast blend, the Russian River demonstrates the ripeness which has made this area so famous. 2008 was for the most part a cool year, but a major heat wave in late August took a few of our Russian River Valley vineyards to an early ripeness.
Of the five contributing vineyards to the '08 Russian River, the largest component was Ted Klopp's Thorn Ridge Vineyard. We've been working with Ted since 2004, and each year, his fruit has been the first we harvest. The second vineyard that was ready in '08 was the Horse Ridge Vineyard, and coincidentally, it makes up the second highest percentage of the blend. It's a short walk from the Freeman Winery, on Cherry Ridge Road.
Never being ones to settle for recipe winemaking, we tried something new with the '08 Russian River. We took some of the softer, fleshier barrels from the Rayhill and Sexton Vineyards and added them to the final blend. For the past few years these vineyards have gone exclusively into the Sonoma Coast Pinot. Also, a few barrels of Keefer Ranch Pinot round out the mix.
This wine follows very closely in the vein of the exceptional 2007 vintage Russian River Valley, and is another deeply colored Pinot, with a beautiful nose of ripe plums, blackberries and a touch of sweet oak. Firm tannins and moderate acidity surround and accentuate a very expansive mouthfeel. The abundance of ripe fruit on the palate is a testament to the great 2008 vintage. The '08 Freeman Russian River will take a few more years to reach ideal maturity—probably in 2013—and should prove very cellarworthy until at least 2018.
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