2008 Pinot Noir, Pastorale Vineyard
Winemaker Notes This wine is a selection of very special grapes; some tiny, perfumed and concentrated, and others full of tannins, yielding a wine with uncommon purity, depth and concentration. Rich and penetrating, this is a serious wine with elegance and true Pinot essence. Harmonious aromas of cassis, blackberry reduction, anise, crispy sage and spicy oak jump out of the glass and draw you in. On the palate, one finds alluring flavors of Bing cherry compote, tangerine zest, sandalwood, dried violets, baking spices, and silky tannins that provide a seamless texture. The finish is long and full with a lively, mouthwatering backbone of acidity.
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 heatwave 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.
91 Points - Connoiseurs' Guide to California Wine
Although a slightly richer and more obvious wine than its tightly wrapped mate above, this very generously filled and beautifully oaked effort is still a serious wine that is built for aging. It steers clear of the acidity severity that presently limits its sibling, but its textbook combination of extract and balance signals that years of improvement lie ahead. Freestone is emerging of late as an important new player in California Pinot Noir, and these bottlings add to that conviction. (Feb. 2011)
93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Another terrific wine from this vineyard, sollowing the superb '07. Dry and full-bodied and fairly tannic, it shows powerful cherry and raspberry fruit, smoked meat, sautéed wild mushroom and sandalwood flavors, liberally spiced. (Mar. 2011)
92 Points - Wine Spectator
Aromas of loamy earth, fresh mushroom and subtle berry notes marked by a minerally edge. Full-bodied yet delicate and refined, with the flavors gaining weight and depth on the finish. (Apr. 2011)
Blend and Grape Sources 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir from our Pastorale Vineyard.
Appellation Sonoma Coast
Harvest Dates September 26-27, 2008
Aging/Cooperage 16 months in 67% new and 33% two-to three-year-old French oak barrels before bottling in March 2010.