2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
This was a drought-busting vintage for the Russian River Valley. The winter of 2016–2017 was one of the wettest on record, fortifying the vines with deep, soaking rains. Perfect spring and summer weather led us to believe we’d be back to “normal” with a late September harvest—something we hadn’t seen since 2012—but two major heat waves at the end of August accelerated ripening and altered picking dates dramatically.
Freeman’s Gloria Estate Vineyard contributed more than half of the fruit for the 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. All ﬁve clones from Gloria were well-represented in the blend, and 2017 marks the 7th vintage since we planted the vineyard in 2006. This steep, hillside site, located right next to the winery, has really come into its own.
The blend also includes fruit from Jim Pratt’s vineyard on Sexton Road and the KR Ranch, formerly known as Keefer. We’ve been enjoying grapes from Pratt since 2005 and Keefer since 2004, so these two sites are very much a part of Freeman’s history. For the second year in a row, the Carricola Vineyard on Mill Station Road added its classically ripe, Russian River Valley ﬂavors to our wine.
At ﬁrst sip, the 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir tastes similar to our Gloria Estate Pinot Noir. It has all of the deep berry aromas of the Gloria, but as it aerates in the glass, a cooler, spicier aspect of the nose emerges. On the palate, it’s perfectly balanced between fruit, acidity and ripe tannins, while the black cherry ﬂavors go on and on into the ﬁnish. This wine should be at its best from late 2019 through 2026.
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.
10 months in French oak:
July 7, 2017