2011 Hirsch "San Andreas Fault" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Wine & Spirits
This is delicious and utterly transparent coastal juice, electric in its tones of red plum and blood orange. A cedar bark tang gives it gravitas—as if recalling the eons of redwood mulch that built the soil on the uplifted marine sedimentary ridges of the Sonoma Coast. San Andreas—referencing the fault responsible for that uplift—draws on both older vines planted in the early 1990s and newer blocks planted in 2002, painting a picture of the entire Hirsch estate in a given vintage. While some Sonoma vineyards were challenged by rain prior to the 2011 harvest, winemaker Ross Cobb saw Hirsch’s sunny ridges ripen Pinot Noir before the October storms arrived. This feels beautifully formed; its taut delicacy would be irresistible with grilled sea bass.
The 2011 Pinot Noir San Andreas Fault is gorgeous and totally silky on the palate. Bright red berries, crushed flowers, sweet tobacco, chalk and pine are laced together in an aromatically expressive, mid-weight Pinot loaded with pure class. I would prefer to drink the 2011 sooner rather than later, as the acidity is quite prominent, and is likely to become even more prominent as the fruit starts to fade. (Antoinio Galloni)
Allen Meadows - Burghound
This is also exceptionally fresh and bright with the same discreet rose petal notes adding a sense of refinement to the pretty mix of both red and dark currant and spice scents. There is an appealing sense of vibrancy to the utterly delicious, intense and delineated medium-bodied flavors possess fine focus on the lightly mineral-inflected finale. There is a trace of dryness but it is subtle and more in the context of detracting ever-so-slightly from the overall sense of harmony rather than being an outright flaw. Drink 2017+
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid red. Asian spices, red berries, rhubarb and musky underbrush on the perfumed nose. Offers lively redcurrant and raspberry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate, with tangy acidity providing lift and cut. Becomes weightier with air, picking up a smoky nuance that lingers on a youthfully tannic, persistent finish. Shows the energy of the vintage to good effect.
From one of the original Pinot outposts on the rugged and damp Sonoma Coast, which was formerly thought to be only good for pasturing sheep before everybody wanted an allocation of Hirsch wine. But we have it right here! According to the winery, David Hirsch believes this may be the best vintage they have yet produced. And why not? The cool and sometimes even cold climatic conditions that set everyone else into panic attacks in 2011 were long ago embraced by Hirsch. A difficult vintage for others was just another day at the office for them.