2009 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir

Each vintage since our inaugural 2002, Freeman has released an Akiko's Cuvée. Akiko Freeman, with winemaker Ed Kurtzman and associate 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.

In 2009, the Akiko's Cuvée is made up predominantly of the cooler sites from where we source our Pinot Noir. Starting near Occidental, the Guidici Vineyard makes up the highest percentage in the blend. Year in and year out, this special place produces some of our best fruit. Slightly south and west of our winery lies Jim Pratt's Sexton Road Vineyard, which also provided almost 30% of the '09 Akiko's Cuvée barrels. Also, the nearby Rayhill Vineyard was among Akiko's favorite barrels, as well as the yearly favorite Thorn Ridge Vineyard.

There were two new vineyards for Freeman in '09, and both of them ended up finding their way into the Akiko's Cuvée. Helen Bacigalupi's
famous vineyard on Westside Road in Healdsburg was planted in 1964. We sourced some Dijon 667 from here in 2009. And from the western edge of Petaluma, we got a couple of tons from the Spring Hill Vineyard. It's typical for the Akiko's Cuvée to remain closed for up to three years after it has been bottled. This is not the case in 2009, as the precocious '09 Akiko's is already fairly open and enticing in its youth. There is an abundance of cherry and spice notes to the nose, with some intriguing forest floor elements peaking through. The palate is framed by crisp acidity and shows off the very best fruits of the Sonoma Coast appellation. With the density of the fruit and its excellent balance, the '09 Akiko's Cuvée should drink well at least until 2020, and probably beyond.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 41% Guidici
  • 29% Sexton
  • 12% Rayhill
  • 6% Thornridge
  • 6% Bacigalupi
  • 6% Springhill
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 in French Oa
  • 41% new
  • 35% one year-old
  • 24% two year-old
Bottling
July 2010
Production
  • 750 ml: 312 cases
  • 1.5 L: 18 cases

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