2006 Pinot Noir, Freestone Vineyards
Winemaker Notes This Pinot Noir is a selection of the best wines produced during the 2006 harvest. We selected the groups with the best balance of tannin, flavor concentration, aroma and acidity. The resulting blend offers hints of sandalwood, wild blackberry and balsamic reduction, dried tea leaves, and a mélange of Indian spices. This wine is serious, yet restrained, and has a backbone of natural acidity, tannin and minerality to provide the structure necessary for aging.
Winemaking Data The long growing season in 2006 provided the winery with Pinot Noir grapes that were in nearly immaculate condition, with crunchy skins, lots of perfume and excellent tannin development. The winemaking team took every opportunity to utilize these beautiful grapes most effectively. We maximized the use of whole berries in each tank and also experimented with some whole cluster additions to the fermentations. Both of these techniques add to the silky texture and accentuate the spicy characteristics that are native to the cool Freestone region.
The cool, late ripening growing season of 2006 finished persuasively with near-perfect maturity levels. This came as a huge relief as the Sonoma Coast received over nine feet of rain! The wet soil conditions slowed initial vine growth but had less impact on the fruit set, which occurred in early June. Following a brief heat spell at the end of July – our first real and much needed heat of the season – veraison began; further crop reduction in the form of green harvesting helped mitigate the late start and long-range weather concerns. This maneuver proved critical as August and September temperatures were significantly below normal.
Although slight rainfall occurred on the 4th and 5th of October, it was with great relief that warm, dry and windy conditions materialized for the balance of the month, bringing the fruit to favorable maturity. The long, cool growing season provided higher acid content, thicker skins, more fragrance and flavor, and exceptional varietal transparency.
93 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good fresh dark red. Captivating aromas of strawberry, raspberry, flowers, incense, mocha and loam, with some Burgundian funk and blood orange emerging as the wine opens in the glass. Quite supple, even creamy, in the middle palate, with musky red berry, earth and spice flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity. As round and seamless as this is in the middle, and as silky and lush as it is on the aftertaste, there's no shortage of structure. Some whole-cluster and whole-berry fermentation has contributed both an intriguing floral/spicy quality and a creamy sweetness. I've been following this venture since the Phelps Family purchased this cool-climate Sonoma Coast property in 1999, and this second release of the estate's flagship Pinot is a knockout. (May/June 2010)
94 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Grown on the true, cool coastal strip of the appellation, it's dry and crisp in citrusy acids, with intricate flavors of wild cherries, balsam, maple syrup, teriyaki-grilled beef, licorice, cola and Asian spices. (Feb. 2009)
91 Points - Burghound
A moderately high-toned nose of red Pinot fruit, violet, menthol and spice hints introduces delicious, intense, round and sappy medium-bodied flavors... Adding to the appeal is that with 20 to 30 minutes if air, this can be enjoyed now though it clearly has the stuffing to improve over the next 4 to 7 years. (Oct. 2009)
90 Points - Wine Spectator
Firm and intense. Spicy wild berry, loamy earth, dusty herbs, sage and mineral notes fan out nicely, gaining depth and dimension on teh long, complex finish. (Sept. 2008)
Blend and Grape Sources 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir from our Freestone Vineyards (Freestone Vineyard and Quarter Moon Vineyard).
Appellation Sonoma Coast
Harvest Dates September 28 - October 19, 2006
Aging/Cooperage 15 months in 55% new and 45% two-year-old French oak barrels before bottling.