2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

It is possible that 2013 will go down in Russian River Valley history as the greatest vintage of all time. Aside from the lack of rainfall over the winter of 2012–2013, everything else was perfect. From the weather to the amount of fruit on the vines to the quality of the grapes, it was an incredible year in which to make Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley.

Freeman’s Gloria Estate Vineyard makes up the largest part of the 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. All five of the Gloria clones made it into this blend: Calera, Pommard, Martini, Swan and 115. This was only the second vintage in which the recently established Gloria contributed the most Pinot to our Russian River Valley blend.

Ted Klopp’s Thorn Ridge Vineyard in the Sebastopol Hills contributed the next largest amount of fruit. We’ve been getting Ted’s Swan selection since 2004, and this block was influential in our planting the Swan clone at Gloria. Jim Pratt’s Sexton Vineyard is also in the Sebastopol Hills sub region. We’ve been sourcing the very fragrant Clone 2A from Sexton since 2005. In most years, it’s the perfect component for our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, but in 2013 vintage, we felt it worked better in the Russian River Valley blend.

Pam and Glenn’s Gunsalus Vineyard in the heart of the Green Valley contributed a Dijon triple play to the 2013 Russian River Valley: Clones 115, 667 and 777. These were the most widely used clones in the appellation during the explosion of vineyard plantings during the late 1990s—and with good reason. And, finally, Marcy Keefer’s excellent Clones 23 and 777 also added elegance and acidity to finish out this year’s blend.

The 2013 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a dark garnet color with a nose of marinated cherries, roof tar, and sous bois. The palate is firm and closed at first, but after some aeration, it reveals an abundance of earthy, dark fruit and ripe, Russian River Valley Pinot character. It has almost Barolo-like characteristics on first impression, including firm tannin on the palate. The drinking window for this 2013 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir should be between late 2015 and 2025.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 29% Gloria Estate
  • 24% Thorn Ridge
  • 23% Sexton
  • 14% Gunsalus
  • 10% Keefer
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
11 months in French oak
  • 27% new
  • 35% one-year-old
  • 14% two year-old
  • 24% three-year-old
Bottling
July 2014
Production
  • 750 ml: 750 ml = 1035 cases cases
  • 1.5 L: 1.5 L = 16 cases cases

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