2016 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noir

Each year since our inaugural 2002 vintage, Freeman has released an Akiko’s Cuvée. To make this special wine, Akiko Freeman and her winemaking staff taste every barrel of our Pinot Noir from the current vintage and everyone chooses their favorites. Next, each person’s top barrels are blended together to create a cuvée. The sample blends are then tasted blind, and a friendly competition ensues. Whose blend will be the team favorite? The resulting wine is called Akiko’s Cuvée, because Akiko’s blend almost always wins.

Five of Akiko’s favorite vineyards were selected for the 2016 Akiko’s Cuvée, with the majority of the fruit coming from Yu-ki and Gloria, Freeman’s two estate properties. The blend also includes grapes from perennial favorites KR (FKA Keefer), Campbell and Pratt Sexton vineyards. Because Akiko prefers cooler sites for Pinot Noir, the grapes for Akiko’s Cuvée typically hail from vineyards near the coast.

Emerging from four straight years of drought and warmer-than-normal temperatures, 2016 was a come-back year for our Sonoma Coast vineyards. Rainfall was just below the 30-year average, and the weather throughout the spring and summer was all we could have hoped for: foggy mornings followed by cool, sunny afternoons. Our traditional (and favorite) weather pattern for Pinot Noir had been missing since 2012!

The 2016 Akiko’s Cuvée is darker than usual, with a dense, purple color that gives it a vibrant, youthful appearance. The nose is inviting and intriguing, with aromas of toast, savory herbs, sassafras, cranberries, blueberries and plums. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, with a bright fruitiness and balanced acidity. The finish goes on for several minutes, promising a long life. While it’s tempting to drink the 2016 Akiko’s now, we expect it to be at peak maturity from 2019 through 2027.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 35% Yu-ki Estate
  • 20% Gloria Estate
  • 15% Campbell Ranch
  • 15% KR
  • 15% Pratt Sexton
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:
  • 45% new
  • 20% one-year-old
  • 35% neutral
Bottling
August 3, 2017
Production
  • 750 ml: 420 cases cases
  • 1.5 L: 20 cases cases

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