2011 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Each vintage since our inaugural 2002, Freeman has released an Akiko’s Cuvée. Akiko Freeman and Ed Kurtzman 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 samples 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.
Nine of the thirteen vineyards from which Freeman sourced fruit in 2011 are represented in this year’s Akiko’s Cuvée with Jim Pratt’s Sexton Road Vineyard contributing the highest percentage. Two vineyards from opposite sides of the Sonoma Coast appellation are next, the Campbell Vineyard near Annapolis and Keller’s La Cruz Vineyard near Petaluma. Akiko’s perennial favorite Rayhill Vineyard also had a strong showing in 2011.
Akiko rounded out her 2011 cuvée by selecting one barrel each from the following vineyards: Thorn Ridge and Keefer Ranch are two sites we’ve been working with since 2004, and the O’Connor Vineyard we brought to Freeman in 2005. Harmony Lane was new for Freeman in 2010 and the Jones Vineyard, right next to our winery, gave us its first fruit in 2011.
The 2011 Akiko’s Cuvée has a vibrant red color, and a sophisticated nose of wet gravel, mint, sage and pomegranate. The 2011 is lean and sleek on the palate, with more pronounced minerality than we see in most vintages of Akiko’s. The excellent acidity is balanced by some very pretty floral and berry flavors on the finish. This wine will start to blossom after 2014, and will drink well for a decade after that.
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
11 months in French oak