2017 Hirsch ‘San Andreas Fault’ Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

$65

Hirsch is a benchmark producer for Pinot Noir from the Golden State. The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch Vineyards’ signature Pinot Noir and is crafted to represent the entirety of this multifaceted vineyard.

“Our 2017 Pinot Noirs are characterized by charming ripe fruit, supple tannins, and a juicy fruit character. The 2017 San Andreas is an ideal wine for drinking at any point over the next ten years: it is wonderfully open and expressive already, with the acidity and backbone to age for some years to come.” – David Hirsch, Winemaker

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About
The-Site

Hirsch Vineyards | Sonoma, CA

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross, Hirsch Vineyards is the birth ground of pinot noir on the Sonoma Coast. David Hirsch founded the vineyard in 1980 to grow fruit and make site-specific wine. From the start, all efforts have been on the growing of fruit that makes wines profoundly characteristic of the site vintage after vintage.

The wines from Hirsch Vineyards give the passionate drinker an experience of the clash of opposites meeting in Nature and Life: the edge of the continent washed by the sea; the eviternal grinding of the North American and Pacific plates along the San Andreas Fault; the wet winters and dry summers caused by the ocean and desert climates; the dripping rainforest and parched pastures; the contact and intermingling of cultures: Native American, Mexican, Russian, European; the change in rural economy from logging and ranching to winegrowing.

In the wines of Hirsch Vineyards you find a natural balance and consistency in the harmonious resolution of these opposites. This complex, unique site produces fruit and wines of unusual acidity and balance with a vintage specific concentration of pinot noir or chardonnay fruit. These are wines to be enjoyed now or laid down for future consumption.

From the first planting in 1980, a philosophy of viticulture has been slowly evolving that is specific to Hirsch Vineyards. Just as our pinot noir and chardonnay vines, influenced by the local environmental conditions, have grown and adapted to the site, we have learned to work out an appropriate cultural approach by trial and error in the field. The mixed geology fostered by the San Andreas Fault and our dramatic climate makes for growing conditions far different than other sites, even those quite nearby.

Each year brings a different juggling act whereby we seek to enter into the dynamic of the annual cycle of the vine to learn where we can be effective in specific situations to help bring the vineyard to balance at harvest time. In 2011 we began the process of converting the vineyards to biodynamic viticulture. By 2014, all 72 acres of vines as well as our gardens and orchards were fully under biodynamic practice.

In 2011 we began the process of converting the vineyards to biodynamic viticulture. By 2014, all 72 acres of vines as well as our gardens and orchards were fully under biodynamic practice.

David Hirsch purchased the land that would be come Hirsch Vineyards in 1978. For millions of years, this land was a temperate zone rain forest, but the redwoods had long since been cut down, and by 1978, it was a sheep ranch.

David planted his first vines in 1980, making it the oldest premium Pinot Noir vineyard on the True Sonoma Coast. Through 2001, all of the grapes were sold to other wineries, and Hirsch did not produce any of its own wine. In the early 1990s, the vineyard became one of the most sought-after sources for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes in California, and wineries such Littorai, Williams Selyem, Kistler and Failla all made Hirsch-designated wines.

In 2002, after twenty-two years focused on planting and farming, David Hirsch made the decision to build a winery and start making his own wines. The primary motivation was to provide feedback to our farming decisions: with more than 60 farming parcels, spread out over 72 acres, David wanted to taste each individually, to better understand the nature of each parcel’s unique soil and climate, the conditions of the vintage, and the consequences of his farming decisions. In other words, we built a winery to become better farmers.

Pinot Noir

This elusive and delicate light-bodied grape is a winegrowers dream, but can be difficult to achieve. Stubborn, yet flirtatious, Pinot Noir is tantalizing creating a beautiful dance between the grape and the winemaker. The resulting light red wine can be nothing short of spectacular. Loved for its red fruit and spicy characteristics, its also a great food partner.

Look for notable regions including Burgundy, France, Central Coast or Sonoma in CA, Willamette Valley in Oregon, and Pfalz or Baden in Germany as well as many other regions around the world in New Zealand, Australia, Chile, and Argentina.

Sonoma County, California

Unknown to many, Sonoma County located in Northern California is actually bigger than its neighbor, Napa County. Sonoma has a famous gap region, known as the Petaluma Gap, that provides a break in the the coastal ranges and is Sonoma County’s newest AVA. The “Gap” is actually a wind gap named after a coastal mountain opening that stretches east from the Pacific Ocean to the south of the San Pablo Bay. Closest to the Sonoma Coast is the famous Russian River Valley AVA known for its high-quality, elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To the north of the Russian River lies the warmer Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley AVA’s producing a wide range of grape varieties including excellent Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhône varietals (Syrah, Grenache, etc), and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other vineyard areas to watch out for premium wine are Sonoma Coast AVA, Anderson Valley, and Mendocino County. 

Over 39 years of farming and winemaking on the True Sonoma Coast, David Hirsch’s accumulated wisdom has shown us that the dominant influence on our farming and winemaking is the San Andreas Fault, which lies just half a mile from the Hirsch Vineyard. The wine that captures the complexity, power and energy of this geologic phenomenon is our San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir, the wine that David calls “the Hirsch Hirsch”.

Hirsch Vineyards is comprised of 72 acres, divided into 67 individual farming blocks, corresponding to the dramatic and sudden changes in soil and aspect created by the Fault. This degree of fragmentation is unmatched even by the famously subdivided vineyards of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits. The vineyard has a fearsome diversity of soils, aspects, elevations and microclimates. This complexity defines our farming and winemaking practices: each block was individually developed and is now farmed, harvested and vinified separately.

 

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