Freeman Russian River Pinot Noir 2016
Freeman’s own Gloria Estate Vineyard contributed the largest percentage of fruit to the 2016 Russian River Pinot Noir blend. Gloria was planted nine years ago, and it is starting to show the characteristics of a mature vineyard. KR (formerly known as Keefer) Ranch and Pratt Vineyard are also well represented in this year’s Russian River blend, as they have often been over the years, since 2004 and 2005, respectively.
This year’s Russian River Valley Pinot includes two vineyard sources new to Freeman: Sweetwater Springs, from the northern reaches of the Russian River Valley on Westside Road, and Carricola Vineyard, which is right near the Freeman Winery, on Mill Station Road.
This wine is a beautiful illustration of the idea that a thoughtful appellation blend is often more than a simple sum of its parts. Right from the start, the aromas o?er hints of the earthiness of Gloria and the black cherry fruit of KR Ranch. Sweetwater contributes notes from the riper side of Pinot, and Pratt brings a more typical, ?oral character. The palate is lush and round, lower in acidity than the Freeman vineyard designated wines, suggesting early drinkability. The 2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir should be at its best from late 2018 through 2025.
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While the Russian River Valley is a large appellation with multiple climate zones and soil types, it is best known for cool-climate varieties, with Pinot Noir as the most celebrated. The grapes benefit from a reliable late afternoon flow of Pacific Ocean fog through the Petaluma Gap and along the Russian River Valley that ensures slow and steady ripening and the preservation of grape acidity. Today many of California’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards are in the Russian River Valley, along with its sub-appellation, Green Valley.
Historically Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs had bright red fruit and delicate earthy, mineral notes. But changes in viticultural and winemaking practices have led to stylistic changes in some of the region’s wines. Adjustments to canopy management, among other techniques, have resulted in riper fruit and bolder wines as well. These show flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cola, spice and darker, loamy earth tones, accenting traditional Pinot Noir notes of strawberry, raspberry and light cherry.