2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

2008 turned out to be an incredible year for Pinot Noir in the Sonoma Coast appellation. After a very cold spring, with major frost damage over the region, the rest of the growing season was near perfect. Because of its proximity to the moderating Pacific Ocean, the Sonoma Coast made it through the major heat wave in late August without any overripeness issues at all. We harvested all three of the contributing vineyards long after cool weather returned.

The Rayhill Vineyard on Falstaff Road was planted in 2000 to four Dijon clones of Pinot Noir. Currently, Arturo Robledo does the farming there, and he brought us some beautiful fruit in 2008. It makes up the largest percentage of the ’08 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir as it did in the ’06 and ’07 harvests.

Just across Bittner Road from our new Freeman Ranch lies the Guidici Vineyard. Charlie Chenoweth planted this Occidental property in 2001 and we have received almost all of its Pinot since the first crop in 2004. This spectacular site yields tiny quantities of very special Pinot Noir, with the ’08 harvest coming in at around 1.25 tons per acre.

The third site which went into the ’08 Freeman Sonoma Coast is Jim Pratt’s Sexton Road Vineyard. We get two clones of Pinot at Sexton, and they each contribute unique characteristics to the blend. 2A, which is a Swiss clone, is always the deeper and more tannic of the two clones. Pommard, on the other hand, is more fragrant and lighter on the palate at Sexton.

As it seems to be almost every year, the 2008 Freeman Sonoma Coast is the darkest, most powerful and largest-framed of our lineup of four Pinot Noirs. The nose is dominated by spicy, slow-ripening Pinot Noir aromas, with hints of violets and roses. Though somewhat similar on the palate to our ’08 Russian River Valley bottling, the Sonoma Coast offers higher acidity and firmer tannins. We expect the ’08 Sonoma Coast Pinot to be drinking extremely well by 2011, but it should age easily to 2018 and beyond.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 44% Rayhill
  • 32% Guidici
  • 24% Sexton
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
  • 40% new
  • 36% one year-old
  • 24% two year-old French Oak
Bottling
July 2009
Production
  • 750 ml: 1425 cases
  • 1.5 L: 18 cases

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