Building a St. Helena Winery’s Reputation
At Freemark Abbey, the twin pillars of its success over many years have been the single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons: Bosché and Sycamore, that have graced its labels since 1970 and 1985, respectively. These storied properties in Rutherford have help build the St. Helena winery’s reputation.
Conversely, because of the Napa Valley legacy that Freemark represents, along with the extraordinary track record of these Cabernets going back decades, Bosché and Sycamore Vineyards have garnered a much-deserved following among collectors and wine writers.
But the underlying architecture of the Freemark Abbey portfolio is more complex. To create its other Napa Valley red wines, Ted Edwards, Kristy Melton, and their winemaking team currently work with at least 15 additional vineyards. These grapegrower relationships help paint a more complete picture of Freemark Abbey in the 2020s.
Napa Valley Wines: Beyond Rutherford
Beyond Rutherford, Freemark Abbey’s story is told through vineyard sites up and down Napa Valley, from Calistoga down to Yountville, and in mountain vineyards on both sides of the valley.
Some of the smaller production Napa Valley wines, like the Malbec from Herrick II Vineyard in Yountville, come from a single AVA, or American Viticultural Area. Others, like the Partner’s Blend, celebrate the winery’s history vis-à-vis the different partnerships that helped create it in the last century, while, at the same time, drawing from fruit sources in three different AVAs.
And then there’s the 130th Anniversary Wine. To honor 130 years of winemaking history at Freemark, Ted and his team assembled a multi-vintage blend from ten individual vineyard sites and seven appellations—a completely unique approach to combining soil types, microclimates, viticultural practices, and vine ages. The 130th Anniversary Wine is, in a way, the ultimate Napa Valley red blend, with a complex profile that draws from many Freemark Abbey vineyard sources.
Vineyard Practices in the 21st Century
As Kristy takes the reigns at Freemark Abbey in 2020 as Winemaker and Ted transitions to his Winemaker Emeritus role, each will settle into their new positions and responsibilities for continuing the winery’s tradition of producing elegant, ageworthy, and site-specific wines. Relationships with their growers, and those growers’ viticultural practices, will remain the focus for each vintner. How Napa Valley vineyards and grapes reflect their terroirs—and then translate to Freemark Abbey wines—will always be at the forefront for these skilled winemakers.
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