2009 Ryo-fu Chardonnay

2009 was the third vintage in a row of extremely high quality Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir) from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations. The growing season was just perfect for bringing the fruit to perfect ripeness, without sacrificing acidity. It's the type of harvest we hope for every year.

Charlie Heintz's own vineyard makes up the highest percentage of the blend in the 2009 Ryo-fu Chardonnay. Heintz Ranch is located just above the town of Occidental, on the western edge of the Russian River Valley appellation. Since 2003, Freeman has purchased the same block of Chardonnay from Charlie. We are very fortunate to be working with such a high quality grower.

Just over the hills, east of the Heintz Ranch, lies the Keefer Ranch. Freeman has purchased both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Marcy Keefer since 2004, and it's the only vineyard from which we receive both varieties. Marcy and her son Craig are two of the best farmers we work with and we're honored to make wine from their vineyard. The Chardonnay from Keefer provides the backbone of acidity to the Ryo-fu, as well some of the subtle fruits found in the nose of the wine.

2009 was the fifth vintage of Chardonnay we have received from Black Emerald. Dennis and Mary Black sell Freeman the half acre of east/west facing rows off of their home ranch. Their vineyard is on Vine Hill Road, just across the street from Kistler, and in the center of the Russian River Valley appellation. The Ryo-fu Chardonnay benefits from the ripe, hightoned fruit we find at Black Emerald.

The 2009 Freeman Ryo-fu Chardonnay recently fooled an entire panel of winemakers in a blind tasting, all of whom thought it was a white Burgundy. With its elegant nose of anise, peaches and lemons, the subtly flavored, yet powerful, palate has substantial weight and acidity. The '09 Ryo-fu has a lot in common with our acclaimed 2004 vintage. We recommend laying down the 2009 Ryo-fu until late 2011, and at a minimum, it should drink well through 2016.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 48% Heintz Ranch
  • 44% Keefer Ranch
  • 8% Black Emerald
Fermentation
Fermented and aged 14 months sur lies
Barrel Aging
December 2010
  • 100% French Oak
  • 24% new
  • 76% one and two year-old barrels
Production
  • 750 ml: 550 cases

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