2011 Hirsch Vineyards "West Ridge" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1194839 94 points Vinous

 The 2011 Pinot Noir West Ridge expresses so many of the qualities that make the Hirsch Pinots so appealing. Bright, chalky notes support beautifully delineated red fruits, flowers, mint and sweet spices, all in a weightless style with tons of appeal. There is a crystalline translucency to the 2011 that is impossible to miss. I very much like the sense of energy and vibrancy here. What a gorgeous wine this is. (AG)  (2/2014)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 This is pure coastal energy in a bottle. Selected from the best barrels off the western (cooler, foggier) side of the Hirsch Vineyard, it’s based on the Mount Eden and Swan selections. Crisp and airy, the wine strikes the tongue like sea spray, its light raspberry-red fruit and floral nuances held together by a wood-bark undertone that suggests the aromatics of a redwood grove in the fog more than just oak. The tannins are still edgy, but it feels energetic and complete.  (6/2014)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (made with 10% whole clusters and 25% new oak): Vibrant red. A pungent, spice- and mineral-accented bouquet evokes tangy red fruits, cherry pit, white pepper and anise. Offers nervy redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors and a touch of blood orange, with a floral pastille note adding sweetness. The floral quality carried through the finish, which is firmed by dusty, fine-grained tannins. This vibrant pinot checks in at 12.8% alcohol, the lowest for this set of releases by a good stretch; the other two were bottled at 13.4%. (ST)  (5/2014)

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Price: $79.99

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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.
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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).