2011 Hirsch Vineyards "San Andreas Fault" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1152262 94 points 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.  (8/2014)

92 points Vinous

 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)  (2/2014)

90 points 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+  (10/2014)

90 points 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.  (5/2014)

K&L Notes

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.

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Price: $49.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 13.7