2021 Hirsch Vineyards, Pinot Noir “San Andreas Fault” Sonoma Coast.
The beautifully layered and deep ruby colored Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir 2021 is really drinking nicely, usually a wine that takes years to develop, it is delivering on the potential of the vintage to near perfection with silken layers of black cherry, wild raspberry, plum and blood orange fruits leading the way in this stylish and structured wine. This wine has exceptional purity, bravo winemaker Jasmine Hirsch, and is wonderfully complex with a delicate earthiness, crushed rose petals, tea spices, subtle smoky wood framing, vanilla, mineral tones and a touch of cola bean. The year’s vivid clarity and lifting acidity, along with a bit of savory tension really makes this Pinot a standout and incredibly exciting in the glass, with air it gathers up a profound presence and gets better and better. This stunner looks to eclipse my two prior favorites, the 2014 and 2010 versions and I’m convinced there is even more to come in the future, I hope I get a chance to re-visit this 2021 in a decade to see if I’m right! The Hirsch Vineyards, part of the Fort-Ross Seaview, West Sonoma Coast AVA, has a wide diversity of clones, with this San Andras Fault Pinot seeing a clonal breakdown, according to the winery, of what they call a 49% mix of classic Pommard and Wädenswil, the old Swiss clone, 18% Swan, 18% Dijon selections 114 and 777, 14% Mt. Eden and a tiny 1% of Calera clone. Hirsch notes that the vine age is 49% from plantings in the 2000s, 50% from the 1990s and 1% from the original 1980s vines, all of which gives a full representation of this premier California vineyard, its coastal marine sediment soils and seasonings from the collection of genetic profiles of the different clones. One whiff draws you in here and this vintage has an exceptionally long aftertaste and it, this Pinot, should be a centerpiece of a meal and graced with your full attention, which will be rewarded and then some with a haunting magical experience.

David Hirsch’s estate in the remote western Sonoma Coast was one of the original vineyards out here and the quality of Pinot Noir here is now legendary, I’m a huge fan and have been for last almost 20 odd years or so, and while I have admired the past offerings, some made by Ross Cobb (Cobb Wines) and Anthony Filiberti (Anthill Farms), the present efforts, especially this gorgeous vintage by Jasmine Hirsch, who does almost everything here these days, are fantastic wines. Before that, there was Williams-Selyem’s versions of Hirsch that set the world on fire, those early ones probably are still fabulous now! The Hirsch estate is situated on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean close to Fort Ross, and is considered a Grand Cru of exceptional terroir on what we call the extreme cool climate Sonoma Coast. Pioneered and planted by David Hirsch in 1980, this site provided the inspiration for all those that came later, and later Hirsch further led into organic farming here, he pushed commitment, as the winery notes, to site-specific terroir(s) that was further enhanced by the transition to biodynamic viticulture initiated by David in 2011, culminating in its completion in 2014. This holistic approach, Jasmine says, now extends across the entire 72 acres of the property, encompassing all the vines, gardens, and orchards. The fruit sourced for this San Andreas Fault Pinot comes from 34 distinct farming blocks or parcels at Hirsch Vineyard, giving a full range of flavors from the property and Jasmine picks and ferments each of them separately in small handmade lots, doing about 12% whole cluster and stem inclusion, and then barrels them down in French oak with about a third new wood, which all sounds very Premier Cru Burgundy like and allows for true sense of place and class. I love these Hirsch Pinots, from the entry level Bohan-Dillon to the single block offerings and the Reserve, but I also highly recommend the very under the radar Chardonnay that Jasmine does, it’s crisp steely goodness on par with Meursault and or Puligny-Montrachet. In other words, like I’ve said before, none of these wines should be missed!
($72 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

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