Ken Wright Pinot Noir Freedom Hill 2017 - 750ml

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92pts Wilfred Wong

The 2017 Ken Wright Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir defines the grape variety well.  This wine is perky and bright. Its aromas and flavors of active red fruits should pair it well with slow-cooked lamb shanks. (Tasted: February 12, 2019, San Francisco, CA)

Winemaker Notes

2012 through 2016 was a string of exceptionally warm years. In these years, we produced a ripe, very lush style of Pinot noir. Wines that are quickly agreeable. 2017 was a throwback to the classic vintages we have experienced over 30 plus years in the Willamette Valley.

Bud break (first green tissue) happened at the time we normally expect. Bloom (flowering of each individual grape) was also when we normally expect this phenomenon, mid-June. This summer, we experienced one of the longest dry periods in our history through July and August. No precipitation for 56 days. When we first checked sugar levels they were abnormally high. The sugar level was not in sync with the physiological ripeness of the fruit. Seeds were green, and the fruit was pulpy. We thankfully received over an inch of rain mid-September which lowered the sugar and brought it in line with the natural acid of the fruit. From that point forward the fruit matured with great balance at a graceful pace. We had surprisingly cool mornings throughout harvest, which helped protect the integrity of the fruit. With more whole berries, the resulting wines had beautiful high-toned aromatics. The whole berries also helped to slow down fermentation allowing for greater extraction of aroma and flavor.

This is a year that reminds me of 1988, which aged so effortlessly (and is still amazing), though this year has more power and concentration.