Although some growers in California struggled in 2010 with the coolest growing season on record, Freeman and other cool climate Pinot Noir producers reveled in 2010’s long cool growing season, which saw heat only late in August and early September, to fully ripen the grapes. The result is an extraordinary 2010 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, a wine that is lush and inviting from the moment it is poured. Moreover, it offers complex Pinot Noir flavors reminiscent of the finest Burgundies: bright pure berry flavors, Asian spice tones, and wood smoke to complement the wine’s perfect balance and long haunting finish. Freeman’s 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is beautiful from the moment it is poured, but aeration will certainly accentuate the wine’s complex flavors, so we suggest allowing Freeman’s top notch Sonoma Coast Pinot at least thirty minutes of aeration. And for optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving this wine at cool room temperature (no more than 65°F) now through 2017.
Great Pinot Noir complements food like no other wine. Yet, it would hardly be a mistake to drink the 2010 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot on its own or with the barest of morsels. With that said, we must confess that we enjoy this wine even more at table. So, consider pairing the 2010 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir with roast chicken or turkey with homemade onion and sage stuffing, or ham with roasted root vegetables. Pork cutlets bathed in a light cream sauce makes a great complement, too. Better still, why not wrap the pork tenderloins in apple-wood smoked bacon, sear them in a skillet and then top them off with a Pinot Noir demi-glace after they finish cooking in the oven? Filet Mignon with Shitake and Chanterelle Mushrooms makes a splendid accompaniment, too, as does Roast Duckling with Bing Cherries. But then again, Freeman’s 2010 Pinot Noir will provide good companionship to almost any carefully prepared dish. Enjoy!
For those of us who have come to love and appreciate top notch Pinot Noir but can’t afford to mortgage our homes to enjoy it, the search for exceptional Pinot Noir at a price that one can afford, at least on occasion, is often akin to the quest for the Holy Grail. Well, that is until we discovered Ken and Akiko Freeman’s exceptional Pinot Noirs, and most especially this month’s selection, Freeman’s 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Since 2001, the Freemans have been truly exceptional pioneers of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, charting a course to the western edges of California winegrowing, where the influence of the Pacific Ocean shapes the character of the wines. In doing so, they have helped to define a more balanced, sophisticated and thoughtful style of winemaking—a style that has been embraced by connoisseurs and collectors around the world as well as many of our panel members.
Ken and Akiko Freeman founded Freeman Vineyard & Winery in 2001. Yet, the seed for their elegant wines was planted more than 15 years earlier, when Akiko and Ken discovered they shared a passion for a more elegant and refined style of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “Though their style embodied elements of what they loved about Burgundy, Ken and Akiko believed California was capable of producing wines every bit as complex and compelling. This belief led them to explore more than 300 vineyards and vineyard sites, both in their search for grower partners, and in their quest to establish a world-class estate program of their own. Believing in a more eloquent, cool-climate style of winemaking, their quest led them to cooler hillside sites on the edges of modern California viticulture. Often swathed in fog and cooled by coastal breezes, these were vineyards that challenged the vines, where the yields were low and the fruit ripened slowly, producing wines of purity and depth of flavor.”
From the very first vintage, Freeman’s style has been both exceptional and contrary to the crowd. While others were pushing the limits of ripeness, Akiko and celebrated consulting winemaker Ed Kurtzman (often called the Dean of California Pinot Noir) sought balance and refinement. This approach has garnered Freeman international praise and a place on quite a few of the world’s most discriminating wine lists. It has also earned Freeman a cult following and recognition as one of California's most visionary and acclaimed small wineries.
Today, Freeman continues to be celebrated and defined by the very same beliefs that inspired its inaugural vintage. Whether Ken and Akiko are working with legendary vineyards like Keefer and Heintz, or Freeman’s own estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley and on the extreme edges of the Sonoma Coast, they strive for a virtuous and authentic relationship with nature. As a result, their wines express an intimacy and true sense of terroir. In order to maintain the integrity of each bottling, the Freemans hold production to under 5,000 cases so they can focus on the little details and personal touches that make good wines great, with Akiko overseeing every step of the process. In the years since the winery was founded, other wineries have come to embrace Freeman’s cool-climate vision. As for Ken and Akiko Freeman, they have stayed the course, perfecting a style they helped to pioneer.
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