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Hirsch San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir 2011

  • W&S94
  • WE90
750ML / 13.4% ABV
Other Vintages
  • RP93
  • V93
  • W&S92
  • W&S95
  • V92
  • WE91
  • W&S95
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750ML / 13.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch Vineyards' signature pinot noir and is crafted to give the drinker a complete picture of this complex vineyard. The 2011 San Andreas Fault has fruit from 27 distinct farming blocks within Hirsch Vineyards, more than any wine produced from this site. The signature wine from one of the finest vintages they've ever seen at Hirsch Vineyards. A wine of elegance, intensity and fantastic ageability. 100% estate, 100% Hirsch.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
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.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
This is a blend of blocks from the large estate vineyard, yielding a very complete wine. It’s brisk in acidity, dry and silky, with low alcohol and firm tannins framing raspberry and cherry skin, cola and pomegranate flavors.
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Hirsch

Hirsch Vineyards

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Hirsch Vineyards, California
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Perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross, Hirsch Vineyards is the birth ground of great pinot noir on the extreme Sonoma Coast. David Hirsch founded the vineyard in 1980 to grow fruit and make site-specific wine. From the start all efforts have been on the growing of fruit that makes wines profoundly characteristic of the site vintage after vintage.

In the wines of Hirsch Vineyards, you find a natural balance and consistency in the harmonious resolution of these opposites. This complex, unique site produces fruit and wines of unusual acidity and balance with a vintage specific concentration of pinot noir or chardonnay fruit. These are wines to be enjoyed now or laid down for future consumption.

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Sonoma Coast

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A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.

Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.

The Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah. The wines have high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and balanced ripeness.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

HIRSAPINOT_2011 Item# 132969