2010 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 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 very cool Green Valley, which has always been considered one of California's ideal spots for Pinot Noir. Marcy, her son Craig, and their small crew handfarm Keefer Ranch year round, with no outside help.

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 yields a much smaller cluster than the 23, and is responsible for a lot of the ripe, fruity flavors we find at Keefer. In 2010, we also had access to some of Keefer's clone 2A Pinot (a.k.a. Wadenswil), a Swiss clone that provides intriguing spice notes.

Some people refer to the 2010 growing season as the "summer that never happened." From early spring until the end of September we saw lots of fog, spring rains and cold temperatures. Finally, during the last week in August the weather returned to normal. This late-season warmth, a meticulous approach to viticulture, and our own expertise working with cool-climate grapes ultimately resulted in an exceptional wine.

The 2010 Freeman Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir is a rather larger-framed wine for Keefer, similar to our 2005 and 2009 Keefers vintages. While the nose starts out fairly closed, with subtle notes of sweet cherry and earth, the palate displays more abundant black cherry and tar flavors that are marked by Keefer's strong acidity. We recommend that you lay the 2010 Keefer down for a few years, as it should be at its best between 2014 and 2019.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% Keefer Ranch, Russian River Valley
Clones
  • 50% 23 Mariafeld
  • 27% Dijon 777
  • 23% 2A Wadenswil
Fermentation
Five-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, hand punched down one to three times per day, free run sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately
Barrel Aging
10 Months in French Oak
  • 47% new
  • 40% one-year-old
  • 13% two-year-old
Bottling
July 2011
Production
  • 750 ml: 320 cases
  • 1.5 L: 22 cases

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