The 2005 Vintage
Early on the 2005 vintage had all the appearances of a great year for both quality and quantity as the canes carried both vitality and resonance and the vines were in balance with a high level of stored nutrition through dormancy.
Sadly, the spring weather was very severe: three hail storms, high winds, and thirty inches of rain between March 20 and June 18, including two storms in the middle of June which shattered the set. There were so few berries on the bunches that they looked like leprous cadavers dangling from their stems. It was so distressing that I had to force myself to walk through the fields.
Bloom began May 23 and lasted until July 10! The hail and wet weather with intermittent fog caused extreme mildew and rot pressures throughout the season. Veraision began 8/4 and the harvest started on 9/20. Due to cool weather the harvest lasted until 10/14 which aided in extending cuvaison in the outdoor open top fermentors. It was in the 40’s at night and the fermentations lasted 20-25 days. Natural malolactic fermentation in the cool cellar ended in June 2006. These factors aided extraction during primary fermentation and mouth feel in secondary fermentation without excessive diacetyl to mask the expression of the site
The yield per acre came to .56 tons. Fifteen tons were reserved for the estate, but due to the terrible shatter only 110 gallons per ton were extracted. This means that each acre gave sixty-two gallons of wine or twenty-eight cases. Converted back to metric measurements, we are talking about 5.8 Hl per hectare.
The winegrowing strategy at Hirsch Vineyards is based on the discrete planting, farming, processing, vintification, and aging of each of the distinct vineyard blocks. Some are a fifth of an acre. Due to the tiny yields, it was impossible to ferment many of the lots separately as their mass was insufficient to generate a satisfactory fermentation. Combining separate blocks in one tank eliminated our ability to assemble the final blend from individual barrels as we normally do. We wound up with twenty-nine barrels of estate wine and ten from a neighboring vineyard. After many trials and much deliberation, we elected to put it all into the 2005 Hirsch. Bottling was done on March 15, 2007 with a total of 950 cases produced.
THE 2005 WINES
In 2005 we produced only one wine at Hirsch Vineyards:
2005 Hirsch Vineyards “Hirsch” Estate Pinot Noir
A vintage of challenges on the true Sonoma Coast, resulting in a tiny harvest, creating a wine of massive structure. The 2005 Hirsch has a mysterious depth of unrevealed surprises and potentials. The 2005 wine is composed of fruit from eleven of our older blocks and five of our newly planted ones.
950 cs produced, 14.1% alc