2011 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 reaches full maturity. 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 2011, we were able to purchase small amounts of clones 2A and Dijon 115. 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. Dijon 115 is a popular clone in California and one that consistently produces full, ripe flavors.
2011 was full of challenges for all of Freeman’s growers with spring frosts, very late spring rains, an incredibly cold summer, and a seventh cool September in a row. Marcy and Craig did an incredible job for us providing Freeman with some of our best fruit in a very difficult growing year.
From its medium garnet color to its enticingly fragrant nose of raspberry, rhubarb and cherry drops, this is a lovely expression of Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir. The rich texture on the palate has plenty of upfront fruit, perfectly supported by a typically brilliant framework of Keefer acidity. Though it is drinking very well with a few hours of aeration, the 2011 should be one of the slowest Freeman Keefer’s to evolve. Expect it to be at its best between 2015 and 2023.
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