2016 KR Ranch Pinot Noir

From 2004 through 2015, Freeman made a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from a portion of the Keefer Ranch Vineyard, located in the Russian River Valley, on Green Valley School Road. The Dutton family took over management of this famed block in 2016 after Marcy Keefer retired, and so we came up with a new name for it, KR Ranch. 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 it is perfectly suited for Pinot Noir. KR Ranch sits in the center of the Green Valley, which has always been considered one of California’s ideal spots for Pinot Noir.

The winter of 2015–2016 marked the end of a historic four-year drought in California. The Green Valley had almost an average year’s rainfall, which was a welcome relief to growers, winemakers and—especially—the vines. February warmed up enough for yet another early budbreak, and things got off to a quick start at KR Ranch. We saw nice weather through flowering in May, and a decent crop set on the two blocks from which we source KR fruit. Perfect conditions led to harvest in the beginning of September.

Clone 23 always adds a deep purple color to wine, and this was certainly true for the 2016 vintage KR Ranch Pinot Noir. The nose of the 2016, unlike past Keefer bottlings, suggests intense black cherries when it is first poured. Trademark rose petal fragrances start to emerge with aeration, and they manifest even more as the wine sits in the glass. Bright acidity is the hallmark of the KR Ranch palate, but here a ripe berry fruit shines through as well. The 2016 KR Ranch Pinot Noir is already drinking well in early 2018, and it should continue to open up nicely for the next six years.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 100% KR Ranch, Russian River Valley
Clones
  • 55% Clone 23
  • 45% Dijon 777
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
10 months in French oak:
  • 25% new
  • 15% one-year-old
  • 30% two-year-old
  • 15% three-year-old
  • 15% four-year-old
Bottling
July 7, 2017
Production
  • 750 ml: 420 cases
  • 1.5 L: 22 cases

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