SONOMA - USA
"The Hirsch family's Sonoma Coast estate is undoubtedly one for the great vineyard sites in the United States." - Antonio Galloni
“This was Pinot Noir of a kind I had never seen, and didn’t expect to see, in California. Nor in Burgundy, for that matter… My impression was of Pinot flavour at it’s most electrically alive…”
- Hugh Johnson, The World of Fine Wine, Issue 48
If California were to implement a Grand Cru category along Burgundian lines, then Hirsch Vineyard would easily make the grade. When David Hirsch bought his remote ranch, perched high on the very cool Sonoma Coast, in 1978 there wasn't a vineyard for miles around, but his decision to plant Pinot Noir in 1980 established him as one of California's new viticultural pioneers. In 2002, with a full understanding of his vineyard gained over nearly 20 vintages, Hirsch decided to build a winery and bottle the best parcels of fruit under his own label. There is huge complexity of soil and topography across the vineyard, with 67 individual blocks being picked and vinified separately each year. The process of farming to enable an early harvest has been honed over many vintages, ensuring terroir is never masked by ripeness, and delivering wines of refinement, grace and intensity of flavour without weight. Now fully biodynamic, winemaking has been decidedly hands-off from the outset, and the resulting Pinot Noir - more earthy, more savoury, and with a remarkable ability to age and develop in the cellar - are some of the most highly praised and sought after in the United States.
2016 Vintage Release
Hirsch 'Reserve' Pinot Noir 2016
***Trophy: Best Pinot Noir, Six Nations Wine Challenge 2019***
Antonio Galloni -"The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve is a big wine. Red fruit, pomegranate, rose petal, lavender, mint and spice are some of the notes that race out of the glass. The Reserve is quite powerful and explosive..."
Hirsch 'East Ridge' Pinot Noir 2016
95 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate East Ridge is a wine of real precision and nuance... the East Ridge speaks with a sense of distinction. Small red berries, chalk, white pepper and blood orange are some of the notes that are laced together in this super-finessed, understated Pinot. In 2016, the East Ridge is incredibly distinctive, not to mention absolutely delicious."
Hirsch 'Block 8' Pinot Noir 2016
94+ points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate Block 8 is another stellar wine from Hirsch, bringing together all the best qualities that make these wines so compelling. Rich and explosive, with plenty of fruit, the Block 8 also has plenty of supporting structure to wrap all the elements together. In this tasting, it is the epitome of balance."
Hirsch 'Raschen Ridge' Pinot Noir 2016
94 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate Raschen Ridge is one of the more overt wines in the range. Ample, broad and creamy, it is wonderfully expressive today. The 40% whole clusters are not especially evident; what comes through most is the wine's textural resonance and breadth. Dark cherry, plum, spice and new leather build into the generous, nuanced finish."
Hirsch 'San Andreas Fault' Pinot Noir 2016
93 points, Antonio Galloni -"Hirsch's Pinot Noir Estate San Andreas Fault is absolutely gorgeous in 2016. The flavours are bold, punchy and super-expressive. More importantly, I see more depth and complexity than in the past. Black cherry, plum, lavender and spice all race out of the glass. Pliant, deep and inviting, the 2016 is arrestingly beautiful."
Hirsch 'West Ridge' Pinot Noir 2015
***Best Pinot Noir of the Year 2018***
96 points, Wine & Spirits Magazine -"Harvested from the cooler seaward blocks of the estate, West Ridge is a beauty in 2014, distilling the delicate essence of pinot noir and the coniferous imprint of the far Sonoma Coast into a wine that's seamless, transparent and, as editor Josh Greene put it, "unfettered." Maybe it's the suggestive power of the wine's aromatic intensity, but even the bright red colour seems a bit magical, as if glinting with inner light. Underneath its pink-rose-petal tone, there's an earthen tug that weaves the aromas into a complex, lasting flavour - imagine the silken yet mineral texture of a great young Chambolle. This should age well-or decant it now for seared wild salmon."
18/20, Jancis Robinson MW -"Bewitching, gorgeous red fruit. This is California Pinot Noir at its complex best, with iodine, herbs, red cherry, olive and herby stemmy notes – a treasure. Light body, delicate structure. Spot on."