2015 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir
Freeman’s only other vineyard-designated Pinot Noir besides the Gloria and Yu-ki Estate bottlings 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 that includes quite a few areas of different microclimates. It is warm enough in the northern part for grapes like Zinfandel and Cabernet, but in its southern and western reaches, the climate is much cooler, and these parts of the appellation are 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. Here, Marcy and her small crew hand-farm the Keefer Ranch year round with no outside help at all.
While the yield in most Pinot Noir vineyards from which Freeman sources fruit was very small in 2015, Keefer Ranch was the one place where we did see a close-to-normal size crop. It was our fourth year in a row of the historic drought, and the vines got off to an early start in the warm, dry winter. May cooled down to well below normal, and most sites saw an uneven set. But Keefer’s Green Valley location was just enough behind the rest of the area in its flowering that, once the weather warmed up in June, their vines ultimately did set a decent amount of fruit. It was still below normal in terms of tons per acre, but we definitely see Keefer as a success for 2015.
The 2015 Keefer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a deep, dark ruby color with a purple rim—sign of a concentrated vintage. The nose is among the prettiest of all the Keefers we’ve made, similar to the 2004, 2006 and 2009s, with rose petals, ripe berry fruit and toasty oak. The palate is youthful and drinks more like a young Pommard than a Russian River Valley Pinot, with high acidity, moderate tannin, and notes of earth and briar. An elegant finish unfolds with time, revealing a wine that should last well into the mid to late ‘20s. We anticipate the drinking window to be between 2018 and 2028.
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
August 3rd, 2016