Hirsch Vineyards: The Highlight of Sonoma Coast
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is now one of the most popular AVA’s in California.
But many experts and winemakers believe the AVA is too large. They insist that the true Sonoma Coast is the area along the coastal mountain range that stretches from Bodega Bay and Occidental in the south to the Mendocino border in the north. This is the specific area that provides a unique geological mix of marine sediment, clay, shale and sand. Add in a climate which is directly influenced by the ocean and results in a fog known as the "inversion layer” and you find an area truly and uniquely perfect for wine.
That is where David Hirsch pioneered Pinot Noir, going on a hunch that the unique geology and climate would produce great wine. Clearly, he was right.
The Hirsch Vineyard, just above Fort Ross and a few miles northeast of where the Russian River spills into the Pacific, gained a reputation for producing distinct, high quality wines.
For the first 20 years David was solely a farmer, selling his fruit to Sonoma's top names, including Kistler and Williams Seylem.
But eventually, he decided that the best way to show the true expression of his terroir was to make his own wine, which he started doing in 2002. Since then the team at Hirsch and a few top winemakers have worked together to craft some of the very best Pinot Noir made in Sonoma, or anywhere in the U.S.
What elevates Hirsch's wines above many of its regional neighbors is a combination of "tied to the land" farming integrity and true respect for the best ideas and wines both in California and throughout the world.
David Hirsch is a grower, and just like the very best vignerons anywhere he is concerned with the vineyard and its complex and interdependent geology, biology and agronomy.
But winemaking matters too, and the Hirsch team has found a winning combination of California innovation, respect for the "true" Sonoma Coast's unique terroir, and honest curiosity for the world’s best wine.
Their love of wine, intellectual curiosity, a now 40-year-old communion with the land and, most especially, a deep respect for wine's miraculous ability to transfer "soil to glass" is what makes every bottle so special.
The baton has been handed to none other than Jasmine Hirsch, David’s daughter.
Jasmine grew up in the vineyards. She has spent countless hours with her father and the vineyard management team over the years, learning the ins and outs of farming and gaining first hand knowledge of the relationship between the soil, the plants and the wine. This sort of inter-generational understanding of the vines is a key to success of top estates in Europe, and a rare gift here in California.
Almost everyone who is even tangentially involved in the wine industry knows Jasmine. Since 2008 she has been the director of Sales and Marketing for Hirsch, traveling tirelessly all over the world to promote the wines.
In 2015 she took over as GM of Hirsch Vineyards, and in 2019 she assumed the role of head winemaker.
Jasmine is one of the smartest and hardest working people in the wine world, and we’re blessed to count her as a friend. And you’re lucky too! Now, you can watch our full live tasting with her while sipping on her incredible wine.
"...bright, perfumed and wonderfully inviting, making it a great choice for readers who want to explore the Hirsch style without delving into the higher-end wines. Crushed red berries, flowers, mint and sweet spice all develop effortlessly. The 2018 is such a pretty wine." -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous
"...a pretty wine to drink now and over the next handful of years. Sweet red cherry, dried flowers, spice and blood orange all flesh out in the glass. There is a good bit of up front fruit, but the wine's persistence tapers off a bit on the mid-palate and finish. Overall, the 2017 comes across as pretty straightforward. I would prefer to drink it young." -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous
"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 in feel... Let's see what bottle age brings here." -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous
From the winery: "2018 was one of the coolest growing seasons in the last decade. A foggy mid-summer gave way at the perfect time to sunny, breezy weather with remarkably cool temperatures. These ideal conditions gifted us with a long maturation period, resulting in wines of elegance, freshness and fruit concentration. The 2018 Chardonnay has a fresh, laser-like acidity, backed by the depth and texture that define this wine."