Wild herbs and dark berries permeate the nose of the 2012 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir. Chinese five-spice and black tea complete the exotic aromatic profile. Powerful on the palate with intense berry and herb flavors, this wine remains lithe as it is tempered by a freshness of orange and citrus peel. Minerals on the finish give the palate a dramatic punctuation.
The Hirsch Vineyard is located above Fort Ross on a rugged, mountainous ridge parallel to the Pacific shore at an altitude of roughly 1,500 feet above sea level. David Hirsch farms 72 acres of his 1,100 acre ridgetop ranch, planted mostly in Pinot noir. Though located within 3.5 miles of the ocean, the vineyard is well above the marine fogline, receiving radiant sunlight throughout the day during the growing season. In close proximity to the San Andreas Fault line, the vineyard consists of a patchwork of blocks with geologically diverse soils and varying exposures and a variety of clones. Hirsch Blocks 4B, 5E and 6F that make up the Williams Selyem Hirsch Pinot Noir are planted in Mt. Eden, Pommard and Swan clones, respectively.
Simply put, the 2012 vintage was amazing in many respects. After the cool growing seasons of 2010 and 2011, which resulted in excellent quality but very low yields, Mother Nature was smiling on us in 2012 with superb growing conditions for a bountiful harvest. The exceptional weather during the spring allowed for moderate vegetative growth, superb flowering conditions and an above average fruit set — berries and clusters sized up beyond original expectations. 2012 was a vintage where ripe mature stems, seeds and skin tannins were achieved with harmoniously balanced natural acidity. Enveloped with pure intense aromas, juicy flavors and rich textures, these structured wines are clearly the result of a truly extraordinary vintage. A vintage like this, where everything comes together perfectly, is rare and will certainly be a vintage to enjoy for many years to come!