Our Wines

2013 Pinot noir Freedom Hill Vineyard

Freedom Hill Vineyard produces Pinot noirs with structure, depth, and richness as well as a strong sense of minerality. The site is relatively warm from daytime heat that rises up the large, flat valley below. This develops rich skin tannins. Because of its proximity to the Oregon Coast range - it is on the edge of the Coast Range of mountains- the vineyard is quite cool at night. This maintains good acidity in the wine. This combination of tannin and acidity produces Pinot noir with great structure. Capturing that intensity and revealing the nuances of the terroir without excess tannins is the key to making great Freedom Hill.

The de-stemmed grapes were fermented in stainless steel with no SO2, allowing the fermentation to proceed naturally. After gentle pressing and settling, the wine aged in French oak barrels, 26% of which were new, for 16 months before bottling by gravity.

Crop Level: 2.9 tons/acre
Harvest Date: 10/2 & 10/3
Bottled: February 2015

Vineyard Details

Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the foothills of the Coast Range, 10 miles SW of Salem, Oregon. During the day warm air rises from the valley floor ripening the skins. At night, cool ocean breezes act to retain acidity. Planted on old sedimentary soils, the vines have a SW exposure at an elevation of 520' to 580'. Our Pinot noir comes from two blocks, one planted in 2004 with Pommard and Wädenswil and one planted in 2008 with 777. The vines from our original Pinot noir blocks at Freedom Hill died from phylloxera after the 2003 vintage. Mark asked Dan Dusschee, the vineyard's owner and manager, to replant a four acre block on the north edge of the vineyard for St. Innocent. Our first vineyard designated Pinot from those vines was produced in 2008.

Vintage Description

The 2013 season was more stressful psychologically than the actual challenge posed by weather conditions. The primary reason for our success is that the grapes were almost completely ripe and clean when the weather conditions deteriorated. There were good tannins, balanced maturity and nice flavors. We just wanted a bit more ripeness before picking.

We expected an early harvest, likely to occur in warm conditions, beginning in the final third of September. Unfortunately on 9/21, with only a few sites picked, it began raining. Normally in Oregon it rains for 2-4 days, then clears. In 2013 the clouds shut out the sun for 11 days and it rained for nine of them. After the rain stopped, we had beautiful sun and one of the driest Octobers on record. The key to success was to pick before, during and after the rain, based on the maturity and disease risk at each site and each block. In a nutshell: pick the ripest, cleanest fruit possible.

The rain began as a drizzle allowing a few extra days of hang time to get the final maturity at some sites. In that period we picked the Chardonnay, parts of our estate and the younger vines at Temperance Hill. Shea, Freedom Hill, and more of our estate were picked just before the drenching that began at 11 am on Saturday, September 28th.

Tasting Notes

This Pinot noir has aromas of ripe red raspberry and black cherry with a broad cedar and rose notes leaving the impression of sensual beauty. The nose is especially vibrant and seductive for Freedom Hill at this young age. The palate immediately reveals its broad and rich tannin structure with juicy acidity, loads of black cherry flavors, a clay-like minerality and layers of earthy spice. This is a very big and broad Pinot noir that still has focus and clarity.


92 Wine Enthusiast, December 2015

Editor's Choice - Lushly scented with fresh-cut wood, red berries, cherries and toasted coconut, this delicately entwines the flavors that follow. It’s a gentle, lovely, graceful and low-alcohol beauty that should continue to drink well into the mid-2020’s.  

91 Vinous.com (formerly International Wine Cellar), October 2015, Josh Raynolds

Brilliant red. Assertively perfumed scents of black raspberry and cherry compote, with hints of vanilla, cola and rose emerging with air. Juicy and lively on the palate, offering sweet red and dark berry and floral pastille flavors along with suggestions of cola and spicecake. The smooth, sweet finish shows mounting tannins and an echoing floral pastille quality.