2012 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. Starting with the 2012 vintage, assistant winemaker Mitchell Masotti joined in on the tasting and contributed his experienced palate.
Akiko’s two favorite vineyards that make up the 2012 Akiko’s Cuvée are from opposite sides of the vast Sonoma Coast appellation. In the northwest corner of Sonoma County lies the Campbell Ranch, near Annapolis and Gualala. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it a true Sonoma Coast vineyard. We receive Dijon Clone 777 from Campbell. Just east of Petaluma is the Keller Estate vineyard called El Coro, also in the Sonoma Coast appellation. We get some of their Swan and La Tache Pinot Noir, and each year it’s almost guaranteed to make it into Akiko’s Cuvée.
The next two vineyards in the 2012 Akiko’s are practically neighbors, Jim Pratt’s vineyard on Sexton Road Vineyard and William Rayhill’s vineyard on Falstaff Road. These are both to the southwest of Freeman, on the way to Freestone and Bodega. Also, Akiko selected one barrel each from Thorn Ridge and the Guidici Vineyard. We have worked with all four of these sites for the past eight years.
The 2012 Akiko’s Cuvée has a soft purple, transparent color and an intriguing nose of fresh roses, wet earth, elderberries, bacon, and lavender. As is typical with all Akiko’s Cuvées, it has the most backward palate of all of our 2012 Pinots, and it will take some time to soften and develop. There’s a lot of tannin and well-balanced acidity that surround the bright berry and savory flavors. We anticipate the 2012 Akiko’s coming out of its shell in 2015 and lasting through 2024.
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