2009 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 of 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.
Since 2004 Freeman has been sourcing clones 23 and 777 from Keefer. Clone 23, also known as Mariafeld, comes from Switzerland, and provides both body and floral aromas when it gets ripe. Dijon 777 is a much smaller cluster than 23 and is responsible for a lot of the ripe fruity flavors we find at Keefer. In 2009, we also were able to purchase small amounts of clones 2A and Pommard 4. 2A is another Swiss clone and it is also know as Wadenswil. It reminds us of the spicy Swan selection we see in other vineyards we source from. Pommard 4 comes from the small town in Burgundy known for its dense, powerful Pinot Noirs.
The '09 vintage at Keefer was a little bit later than normal. It seemed like everything was moving along steadily and that we'd be harvesting in early September, but then the weather cooled down, and we waited until the end of September to harvest. The flavors we saw at Keefer in '09 were some of the most interesting we've seen at the vineyard, reminiscent of '04 and '06.
The first taste of the 2009 Freeman Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir gives a preview of just how complex this wine becomes in the glass. The aromas range from floral and spice to deep, ripe berry fruits. There's a very dense palate impression, unlike any of our Keefers since the 2005. At the same time, the acidity in the '09 is bright, and predicts this wine will age very well for years to come. Lay the 2009 Freeman Keefer down until 2012, and it should start to reach its full potential from that point through 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
10 Months in French Oak