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Freeman Vineyard & Winery

Owner(s) Akiko Freeman, Ken Freeman
Web site www.freemanwinery.com
 
Link to this site
Freeman Vineyard & Winery

Ken and Akiko Freeman started their winery quietly in 2001 and since then have developed a style of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that appeals to those who savor elegant cool-climate wines with lovely ripe fruit flavors. Their talented winemaker in the early years, Ed Kurtzman, has passed the winemaking duties to Akiko and assumed a consulting posture. They craft wines that are quite approachable upon release, yet show enough depth and structure to allow for extended development over the long term. There is a Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley appellation Pinot Noir, a vineyard-designate from Keefer Ranch, and the best barrels from each vintage are chosen by Akiko and bottled as “Akiko’s Cuvee.” Production is about 4,000 cases annually which includes a Chardonnay (Ryo-Fu “Cool Breeze”). Most of the wine is sold through a mailing list.

Ken and Akiko seem to be everywhere, hosting tastings at their winery, as well as participating in many Pinot Noir festivals and special dinners. This is in spite of Ken’s day job as an investment banker. They travel extensively and entertain Ken’s banking clients at home and abroad. The pair have lived in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and Akiko hails from Japan. The result is that over 300 cases of Pinot Noir are sent to Japan each year.

The Freemans own a winery built into a hillside complete with extensive caves located in western Sebastopol. They have spent considerable time and energy in beautifying the caves and it is a comforting place to visit and taste. In 2007, they began planting their own four-acre estate vineyard on the hillside behind their winery. Under the guidance of noted viticulturalist, Greg Adams, they chose to plant Swan and Calera selections in the Goldridge soils of this vineyard.

Reviewed Wines

2012 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Barrel sample. “First fully ripe vintage since 2003,” according to Ed. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very fruity nose featuring well-ripened black cherries, black raspberries and plum reduction sauce. Probably the purest fruited nose of all the wines tasted here. The fruit flavors echo the nose, and show impressive richness, maturity and grip on the mid palate. There is plenty of spice to add interest. The finish just sails along. Needs time to fully show what it has but this should turn out to be an extraordinary wine. A Lolita that will easily last 15 years. Score: NR. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

350 cases. 23% Sexton, 18% Campbell, 18% La Cruz, 11% Rayhill, 6% Thorn Ridge, 6% Jones, 6% Keefer, 6% Harmony Lane, and 6% O’Connor. · Modest reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of darker fruits with hints of oak spice and rose petals. Dances on the lean side, but still quite flavorful, featuring both red and black berry notes finishing with focus and purpose. Will need more time to integrate the vanilla-infused oak and fully express itself. The characteristic finesse showed by the Akiko’s Cuvée wines is apparent. An impressive effort in this difficult vintage. Drink or hold mid term. Score: 91. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Freeman Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 1,320 cases, $20. · Moderate ruby red color and clear in the glass. Aromatically appealing with scents of strawberry, cherry, dried rose petal and spice. The flavors echo the nose with accents of herbs and oak. More body and substance than most rosés, this wine drinks more like a Pinot Noir and will pair nicely with substantial foods. A charming cherry note persists on the finish. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Freeman Ryo-fu Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 450 cases, $40. A blend of two vineyards with the largest component from Keefer Ranch and a lesser amount from Heintz Vineyard (vines dating to 1982). Aged 14 months sur lies in 21% new and 79% 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. · Light yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple and slate lead to crisp, vivid flavors of citrus, apple, white peach and oak. Plenty to like with forward fruit flavors reigned in by lively acidity, finishing on a high note with lemon-drop memories. Still fine the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94. Reviewed September 29, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 1,320 cases, $44. Broad selection of the appellation with contributions from six vineyards. Aged 11 months in 32% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddishpurple color in the glass. Aromas of strawberries, cherries, tobacco leaf, green herbs and a hint of oak. Middleweight flavors of black cherry, blueberry and green herbs supported by mild tannins and finishing with some intensity. Nicely balanced and easy to drink. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

325 cases. 23% O’Connor, 18% Campbell, 14% Connell, 14% Thorn Ridge, 9% Gunsalus, 9% Rayhill, 5% Sexton, 4% Bacigalupi, and 4% Harmony Lane. Aged 11 months in 27% new, 27% 1-year-old and 46% 2-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very lovely aromas of Bing cherry pie filling, baking spices, and a hint of oak. This exceptional wine has it all: a soft, silky texture, vivid cherry and raspberry fruit expression, very suave tannins, uplifting acidity, beautifully married oak, and overall, an appealing delicacy. A thing of beauty. Drink or hold long term. Score: 95. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

312 cases. 41% Guidici, 29% Sexton, 12% Rayhill, 6% Thorn Ridge, 6% Bacigalupi, and 6% Spring Hill. Aged 11 months in 41% new, 35% 1-year-old and 24% 2-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The bright aromas of black cherries, spice and seasoned oak leap from the glass. Racy, discreetly concentrated dark red fruits are complimented by a savory herb and citrus underpinning. This enjoyable wine displays an impressive balance of fruit, acidity and supple tannins and offers an intensely fruited yet refreshing finish. Drink or hold long term. Score: 94. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvee Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $56. A blend of primarily cooler sites carefully chosen by Akiko Freeman, winemaker Ed Kurtzman and associate winemaker Eric Buffington. 41% Guidici, 29% Sexton, 12% Rayhill, 6% Thorn Ridge, 6% Bacigalupi and 6% Springhill vineyards. Aged 11 months in 41% new, 35% 1 year-old and 24% 2 year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. A cherry bombast on the nose with baking spices playing a supporting role. Elegant and seductive on the palate with a lengthy, crisp and aromatic finish. Very good (+). Reviewed March 12, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

420 cases. 38% Keefer Ranch, 24% Rayhill, 24% Guidici, 9% Horse Ridge, and 5% Sexton. Aged 11 months in 38% new, 33% 1-year-old, and 29% 2-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine reflects more Green Valley influence from Keefer Ranch. The aromas jump out of the glass with swirling, offering enticing notes of fresh cherries and crushed wild raspberries with a touch of spice. Impressive mid palate presence of an array of dark red fruits that are vivid and juicy. Like chewing on iced cherries. The oak is beautifully integrated, the tannins are well-mannered, the acidity is bright, and the finish is delightful. A lip-smacker. Drink or hold long term. Score: 95. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Demure aromas of red cherries and berries. Soft in the mouth with charming flavors of cherries and cherry cola. Oak is still prominent and may integrate over time. Good. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Vineyard & Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

1,473 cases, $44. Sourced from five vineyards, with a third from Ted Klopp’s Thorn Ridge Vineyard. Aged 11 months in 47% new French oak. · Richer and earthier than the Sonoma Coast bottling with bright flavors of ripe Bing cherries, dark berries, oak and cola. Still rather closed but the future is very promising for this wine. Has the bones (tannins and acidity) to age ten years. Good. Reviewed April 9, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Vineyard & Winery Ryo-Fu Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 550 cases, $44. Sourced from Heintz Vineyard, Keefer Ranch and Black Emerald Vineyard. Aged 14 months in 20% new French oak, barrel fermented with 100% MLF. · Beautifully proportioned with just the right touch of oak. Crisp and clean with appealing flavors of pear, white peach and creme brulee. Not at all tiring to drink like many California Chardonnays. One of the top California Chardonnays I have tasted from this vintage. Very good. Reviewed April 9, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Vineyard & Winery Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

1425 cases, $44. 44% Rayhill Vineyard, 32% Guidici Vineyard, 24% Sexton Vineyard. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak. · Very approachable wine that is medium-weighted with charming black cherry fruit and soft tannins. The nose is quite delicately fruited with notes of dried rose petals. I liked this a lot. Very good. Reviewed April 9, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Vineyard & Winery Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 445 cases, $48. Aged 11 months in 35% new French oak. · Bright scents of strawberry and raspberry tart with hints of baking spice and orange tea. Tasty panoply of redder fruits with herbs and tea leaves mixed in. Silky smooth with soft tannins, bright acidity and an appealing elegance. A sweetheart wine that is very approachable now and quite easy to drink. Very good. Reviewed April 9, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Freeman Vineyard & Winery Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 420 cases, $56. A barrel selection chosen by Akiko, Ken, and winemakers Ed Kurtzman and Eric Buffington. Each person’s top barrels are blended and tasted blind. Called Akiko’s Cuvée, because her blend nearly always wins this blind tasting. Keefer Ranch fruit makes up the largest portion. Aged 11 months in 38% new French oak. · Shy, teasing aromatics with scents of wild berries, oak toast and cut flowers. Rich and satisfying red and purple fruits on the palate with caressing tannins. Very smoothly textured and seamless. Tasted the next day and the day after from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine retained its appeal indicating age ability. A stunning wine that will easily go 15 years. My wife went gaga over this wine. Reviewed April 9, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

440 cases. 28% Thorn Ridge, 19% Rayhill, 17% Sexton, 15% Morris, 11% Guidici, 4% Horse Ridge, 2% Connell, 2% O’Connor and 2% Keefer. Aged 10 months in 52% new and 48% 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose lacks fruit, offering instead an herbal oak theme. The fruit core, although nicely ripened and featuring dark red and black cherry fruits, is immersed in oak creating a strong dried herb finishing flavor. The texture is smooth and the tannins are well-balanced. Drink. Score: 87. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

505 cases. 30% Rayhill, 25% Thorn Ridge, 15% Guidici, 7% Connell, 5% Sexton, 5% Bailey, 5% Keefer, 5% O’Connor and 3% Meredith Estate (at least one barrel from each of Freeman’s vineyards included). Aged 10 months in 30% new and 79% seasoned French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Inviting aromas of fresh dark red cherries and berries with hints of briar, forest floor and vanillin. This wine has an appealing savory riff, adding interest to the middleweight core of dark red cherries and raspberries. The oak is complimentary, the tannins are quite modest, and the finish is juicy and refreshing. Drink or hold mid term. Score: 93. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $41. · A complex array of scents including bright cherries, herbs, barnyard and oak char. The dark cherry, raspberry and cola flavors are saucy and lush, but the thick oak toast spoils the party for me. A perfectly well-crafted wine that will appeal to those who like oak with their Pinot. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $41. · Moderate dark ruby color. Appealing aromas of toasty cherry, herbs and even apple notes. The palate is sturdy, full and long with nice black cherry and oak spice flavors. The mouth feel is velvety and the whole package is perfectly balanced. Not a blockbuster by any means, just a very comforting Pinot Noir that is easy to recommend. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $46. · Moderately deep ruby color. The nose is a showy cherry bombast - rich and deep with damp earth accents. Substantial black cherry core, smooth, clean and tangy with a lengthy finish. A woodsy, earthy touch adds interest. A stellar wine from a top Sonoma County vineyard that is worthy of its own designation. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Vineyards & Winery Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $46. · Moderately deep ruby color. A cherry bombast on the nose. Saucy, fat and lush black cherry core. Appealing earthy touch. Clean, crisp and tangy finish that lasts and lasts. Naomi Campbell in hiking boots. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvee Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $52. · A bit shy at this stage. Extensive swirling in the glass brings forth nicely spiced black cherry scents. This wine is a little better than the other wines in the lineup in every way. Creamier on the palate, especially on entry, more elegance, and a longer finish. Perfect integration of oak. You can drink it now, but it will reward further cellaring. Akiko knows Pinot. Reviewed May 26, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

375 cases. 44% Keefer Ranch, 20% O’Connor, 18% Thorn Ridge, and 18% Rayhill. Aged 10 months in 35% new, 41% 1-year-old and 24% 2-year-old French oak barrels. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very aromatic, offering hi-tone scents of Bing cherries black raspberries, and Asian 5-spice. A bigger, more intensely concentrated wine in this vintage, yet has the backbone to balance the fruit. Delicious layers of deeply colored stone fruits and berries with hints of cola and spice. Finishes with impressive richness. Will easily hold another five years. Score: 93. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2005 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvee Pinot Noir

425 cases Akiko Freeman selects her favorite barrels for this wine. Both Ken and Ed also pick out their favorite barrels and challenge her, but in every vintage, from 2002 to 2005, her blend is always the trio’s favorite. Poor Ed, his blend of his favorites never gets picked. We enjoyed this at lunch at K & L Bistro in Sebastopol (recently awarded one star by the Michelin Guide and one of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma wine country). · Cherries and spice and everything nice in the aromatics, delicate red fruit flavors with cola and tea, a soft, silky texture, and a generous finish of aromas and flavors that persist. An excellent food wine. Drinking window is 1-5 years. Reviewed November 26, 2006 ARTICLE »

2005 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Light ruby in color. Very charming scents of red fruits including wild strawberries, with floral notes (violets) as well. A graceful wine driven by flavors of red Pinot fruits with herbal accents. The finish is marred by a touch of woodiness which disappears when the wine is accompanied by food. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Freeman Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

500 cases. This vineyard has produced grapes for many distinctive bottlings from several producers. Currently Ed is helping the Keefers bottle their own estate wine for 2006. · This is the only single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Freeman. Bottled separately because of its unique fruit, the grapes have a distinctive rose petal aroma, high acidity and plenty of fruit to back up the generous use of new oak. Reviewed November 26, 2006 ARTICLE »

2005 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

900 Cases · Reviewed November 26, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

280 cases. 62% Meredith Estate, 23% Bailey, 8% Thomas Road and 7% Keefer. Aged 11 months in 38% new and 62% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The wine leads off with earth-kissed aromas of ripe, dark fruits with a hint of spice. Strikingly flavorful on the mid palate with an array of dark red and black stone fruits and berries. Very silky in the mouth with suave fine-grain tannins, bright acidity, and a substantial finish that really hits all the high notes. Drink or hold short-term. Score: 94. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2003 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

140 cases. 86% Meredith Estate, 7% Thomas Road, and 7% Galante. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Less aromatic than the 2002 vintage, offering shy aromas of dark cherries and berries and spice. Very flavorful, yet light on its feet, featuring discreetly concentrated flavors of blackberries, Bing cherries and black currants. A stylish wine with an earthy bent, fully integrated tannins, and a touch of heat on the fruitdriven finish. Drink or hold short-term. Score: 89. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2002 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

600 cases. Sourced from Thomas Road and Meredith Estate vineyards. An ideal vintage with a small but fully ripened crop. Aged 15 months in 57% new French oak barrels. · Fresh, moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. This wine features dark fruits that are very ripe and an underlying earthiness in the aromas and flavors. Scents of blackberry and black plum lead to fresh flavors of dark berry jam and black cherry with a hint of oak in the background. The tannins are very supple creating a silky texture and the finish has some noticeable length and intensity. Drink or hold shortterm. Score: 90. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »