2008 Pinot Noir, Freestone Vineyards
100% estate-grown Pinot Noir from Freestone Vineyards (Pastorale and Quarter Moon).
The aromatic profile of this wine boasts deep and enticing aromas of spice cabinet, black tea, dried violets, pomegranate liqueur, balsamic reduction and cedar box. Once in the mouth, rich, bold flavors and texture excite the palate with a zest that comes from the Freestone-driven spice and the crisp, vibrant acidity.
The flavor profile is rich and jammy, yet also fresh and elegant, offering hints of tangerine zest, brandied fruit compote, dark truffles, allspice and peppercorns. The generous, lingering finish rounds out the experience and leaves the tongue pleasantly coated and ready for another sip.
The 2008 vintage was a dry year overall and continued the streak of above-normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. Despite the dry conditions, there was good berry set in both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, producing a substantial crop of balanced and flavorful fruit.
Because of severe frost in late March/early April, Freestone lost ~50% of estate Chardonnay. On the other hand, because of close proximity to the coast, it was unaffected by the major fires that broke out during the peak growing season, so all the wines are fresh, lively and free of any signs of smoke taint. The early part of the growing season was warm and steady, allowing for fairly even ripening in both varietals.
Beginning on September 1st a strong heat wave came through and began to dehydrate the delicate Pinot Noir grapes. Though the Chardonnay held up well under this pressure, the biggest challenge of the vintage was to harvest all of the most susceptible Pinot Noir blocks before temperatures soared above 100°F; therefore, the focus was on Pinot Noir, with all fruit harvested between September 3rd and September 27th. The Chardonnay harvest began with the warmer Russian River Bacigalupi vineyard on September 2nd, followed by Dutton Ranch on September 10th. The bulk of estate Chardonnay came in slowly between September 11th and October 1st.
Though the latter part of the growing season was unusually warm, the wines are quite vibrant, balanced and aromatic, and are a great follow-up to the highly successful 2007 vintage.