Freeman Vineyard and Winery is a boutique winery in Russian River Valley owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Ken and Akiko Freeman. Founded in 2001 it produces five thousand cases annually of super premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from their Gloria Estate Vineyard, Yu-ki Vineyard and top neighboring vineyards in Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast.
Akiko, who is originally from Japan, serves as winemaker and oversees every aspect of Freeman’s winemaking program. She acquired her knowledge of viticulture and winemaking by apprenticing with veteran winemaker, Ed Kurtzman. Ed who now serves as Akiko’s consulting winemaker, has extensive winemaking experience with Chalone, Testarrosa, Roar and other wineries. Proprietor, Ken Freeman, a skilled businessman, is involved in all aspects of the operation helping identify grower partners and marketing the Freeman brand.
The wines reviewed here will be released next month. They consist of a Chardonnay and five Pinot Noirs recently tasted with Ken Freeman here in Washington, DC. This was our first opportunity to taste Freeman wines, which we missed when preparing our recent Report # 44 The Wines of Sonoma County. In sum, they are well-made and delicious drinking. The Pinot Noirs are fruit forward and ripe with dark lush red fruit flavors and earthy nuances. However, some of the wines would benefit from a tad more structure on the backend and finish. Our favorite in the red wine line up was the Pinot Noir Gloria Estate; it is elegant and refined and perfectly balanced with good acidity on the finish. The Chardonnay Ryo-fu with its fruitiness and restrained use of oak was also a winner.
Website: www.fremanwinery.com Tel: 707-823-6937
Freeman Winery 2013 Chardonnay Ryo-fu Russian River Valley ($40) 92 The 2013 barrel fermented (10% new) Chardonnay Ryo-fu offers tropical fruit aromas with hints of minerals and toasted oak. It is rich and full in the mouth with good density of flavor, excellent balance and crisp acidity on the finish. Sourced from the Keefer and Heintz Ranch. Lovely wine. Freeman Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($45) 89 This Pinot Noir sourced from vineyards in Occidental, Annapolis, and the Sebastapol Hills provides ripe plum fruit with herbal notes and a hint of toast. It’s very soft and plush on the palate and easy drinking now. Freeman Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($44) 90+ The 2013 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley offers very ripe and abundant earthy and dark fruit. Savory in character, it is aged 11 months in French oak, both new and used. Made with a blend of Calera, Pommard, Martini, Swan and Dijon clone 115. This wine was taut at the time of tasting, and we recommend letting it sit for a few months before drinking. Freeman Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley ($52) 91 The Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch displays a deep red ruby color and aromas of cola, earth and black pepper. It has an elegant mouth feel with good acidity and overall freshness. Aged 11 months in new and used oak, it is nicely focused and read for prime time drinking. It’s made from Wädenswil clone vines planted in 1982. Freeman Winery Freeman Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Gloria Estate Russian River Valley ($56) 93 The 2013 Pinot Noir Gloria Estate is the top wine in this line up. It is dark ruby in color with fragrant aromas of black cherry and spice. It is elegant and refined on the attack and reveals dense, meaty red and black fruit flavors on the palate. Aged 11 months in French oak, 24% new, it is well structured and focused with soft round tannins and a firm finish. Gorgeous. Freeman Winery 2013 Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast ($62) 92 The 2013 Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvée is another elegant bottling offering aromas and flavors of cherry and plum. Aged 11 months in French oak, it has a silky texture, concentrated fruit flavors with notes of forest floor and toasted oak. It is highly focused with outstanding balance and a persistent finish. Sourced from the Campbell Ranch and vineyards in the Russian River Valley.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler