2017 Gloria Estate Pinot Noir
Gloria is Freeman’s estate vineyard, located just next to the winery. Ken and Akiko Freeman acquired this site, previously an apple orchard, in 2005 and began planting it the following year. They named the vineyard for Hurricane Gloria, the fortuitous (for them, at least) meteorological event that ﬁrst brought them together in 1985.
Sitting just 10 miles from the Paciﬁc Ocean, Gloria possesses all the attributes that make the region ideal for Pinot Noir: a steep hillside for optimal drainage, Goldridge sandy loam soils, and a climate that is sunny but unusually cool, moderated by fog. The 8-acre vineyard is planted to the heritage Pinot Noir clones Swan, Calera, Martini and Pommard, along with Dijon 115. Due to extreme weather and high elevation, yields vary from 1 to 2 tons per acre. Gloria is not easy to farm, with its steep hillsides and varying exposures, so Akiko works closely with Freeman’s vineyard team on all decisions regarding this challenging and rewarding vineyard.
The 2017 growing season began as one of the wettest years on record. After four years of below-average rainfall, the winter of 2016-2017 provided about two years’ worth of water, and the vines thrived. Two major heat waves in late August sped up the ripening process, prompting the harvest team to bring in the fruit early. Harvest was completed by the end of September, around the time we thought it would start. The fruit quality was outstanding, with bright acidity to add structure to the wine and lift the aromatics.
After the more restrained 2016 vintage, the 2017 Gloria Estate is back to the fuller-bodied style typical of the Russian River Valley. With deep, dark color, this blackberry- and vanilla-scented Pinot has a lush mouthfeel, balanced beautifully by high acidity. The 2017 is already drinking well just six months after bottling, but with its larger frame and impeccable balance, it should last right through the 2020s.
Five-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, hand-punched down one to three times per day. Free-run juice sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately.
11 months in French oak:
July 11, 2018