2012 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir
Freeman's only other vineyard-designated Pinot Noir besides Gloria 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 and her small crew hand-farm the Keefer Ranch year round with no outside help at all.
2012 was a return to normal type of vintage, the first one we’ve seen like this since 2003. The spring, summer and fall were all gorgeous with perfect weather during flowering, set, veraison and harvest. It was a larger harvest than any vintage since 2006, but the weather was so cooperative, we saw very little botrytis in the large clusters of Pinot. If every year were like 2012, there would be a lot of happy growers, winemakers and Pinot Noir consumers. We harvested our usual blocks of clones 23 and 777 at Keefer in 2012, and also received small amounts of clones 2A and 115 as well.
The 2012 Freeman Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir has a beautifully bright violet color. The nose of black cherries, brambly brush, and roses is followed on the palate with bright plum and cola flavors. As usual, the Keefer has the best acidity of all of our Pinots, and this carries right through the long finish. Expect the ’12 Keefer to start opening up at the end of 2014 and drink well until at least 2020.
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