2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
2014 was a transition year for the Russian River Valley, as the drought kicked into high gear that winter. January and February were warm and dry, so the vines got off to an early start with budbreak. Much-needed rain came in March, followed by cold weather in April. This lead to some frost issues in low-lying spots, but for the most part a good crop set on the vines by the end of May. The warm summer led to one of the earliest harvests on record, and both the quality and concentration of the fruit were very high.
Freeman’s own Gloria Estate Vineyard makes up the largest part of our 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. All five of the Gloria clones are included in this blend: Calera, Pommard, Martini, Swan and 115. The vineyard really came into its own with the 2014 growing season, and although still considered young, it is maturing beautifully.
Next came two vineyards in the Sebastopol Hills sub-region of the Russian River Valley: Thorn Ridge, with its Swan selection, and Sexton, with its clone 2A. Thorn Ridge has always been part of our Russian River Valley blend since 2004, and we have been sourcing Jim Pratt’s Sexton 2A since 2005. For the second year in a row, we felt that the Sexton fruit worked better in the RRV Pinot than in our Sonoma Coast bottling. In a cool year, Sexton shows a lot of Sonoma Coast qualities; but in a warm year like 2014, it seems much more characteristic of the Russian River Valley appellation.
Usually the Keefer Ranch contributes a large percentage to the Freeman RRV Pinot blend, but this year’s Keefer crop was limited by the spring frost, so only four barrels of Keefer made it in. The rest are in our 2014 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir bottling.
This is one of the fullest-bodied Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs that Freeman has ever made. The color is darker than usual, and the nose is atypically tight. Give the wine some air, though, and it reveals hints of black raspberries and oak. The palate brings out the rich red fruit we expect in our Russian River Pinot, and this year there is also a bit more tannin than usual. This and a long finish foretell a slow evolution.
Drink this between 2017 and 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