The 2006 Vintage
If 2005 was our year of the locust, 2006 was the seven-year harvest. In our case it had been nine years since yields and tonnages this high had been seen. Our quixotic San Andrean climate conspired to produce apt conditions at pretty much every stage of vine development right up to harvest.
This bounty provided fruit for three pinot cuvees and a chardonnay. We are proud to announce the first Bohan Dillon since 2003; the initial release of Hirsch Chardonnay; the M, a new pinot noir expression of our site; and our flagship wine, Hirsch Vineyards pinot noir.
2006 was a fairly normal year save for heavy winter rainstorms, which caused massive landslides and slips on the ranch and around the county. The vines opened April 1, and warm weather promoted good root and shoot growth. Bloom began the end of May and a normal looking crop was set by the third week of June. It wasn’t until early August when the fruit continued to grow ever heavier that we realized the magnitude on our hands. The bunches and berries were not unusually large, but very compact. I estimate that we dropped at least twice as much fruit as we harvested in 2005!
The harvest began Sept. 15 and ended Oct. 14. It was interrupted by a cool spell with some rain and the picking stopped for a week. The fruit did come in clean and in good condition. The cooler weather in October resulted in longer than usual fermentations and the last barrel was not filled until Nov. 7.
The 2006 wines offer the discriminating taster a new experience of our site. Our fields are formed of a mélange of soils, slopes, and orientations. Every year the climate affects each mini-micro site a bit differently. This means that a full experience of Hirsch Vineyards demands that one drink the wines from each vintage, and, as our wines do evolve in the bottle, to drink each wine over time.
These wines have a pronounced fruit character, but with a serious tannic expression. They exhibit excellent balance. Through the fruit and tannins, the “Hirsch” character is evident. Beginning with the Bohan Dillon, and later with the M and the Hirsch, you will have the opportunity to experience how our site expressed itself in 2006.
Due to lack of space, the 2006 chardonnay was made at Peay Winery under the supervision of Vanessa Wong, our first winemaker. The fifteen barrels were moved to the winery in June 2007 prior to bottling in August. You will find this wine to be a true representative of the site and a worthy successor to the fine chardonnays made from this fruit by Williams Selyem and Kistler.
THE 2006 WINES
In 2006 we produced the following wines at Hirsch Vineyards:
2006 Hirsch Vineyards Estate Chardonnay
The Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir is the signature wine from our site, made from our oldest and most profound vineyard blocks. The 2006 was made from 80% old vine fruit and 20% young vine fruit.
360 cs produced, 15.1% alc, 3.77 pH
2006 Hirsch Vineyards “Bohan Dillon” Estate Pinot Noir
Produced for the first time since 2003, this pinot noir expresses the complexity of the site. It is a blend of seventeen fermentation lots containing the fruit of thirty-four discreet farming blocks. All five of the pinot noir clones farmed here are fully represented. Ninety-seven percent of the fruit is estate; the balance is from the adjoining Hellenthal ranch. Thirty per cent is from the older fields; the balance from our newer plantings. It is important to note that this wine is made in exactly the same way as the Hirsch and from the same fruit. In other words, it is a true ‘village’ wine and represents exceptional value.
2,568 cs produced, 14.6% alc
2006 Hirsch Vineyards “M” Estate Pinot Noir
Our new pinot cuvee from Hirsch fruit grown in thirty-one vineyard blocks is a really M-arvelous and M-ellifluous expression of our site. What sets it apart from its two siblings is the distribution of clones and oak: see the charts. Thus, the M offers a unique perspective of the site for the 2006 vintage, revealing the site’s inherent complexity and its mysterious property that produces myriad aspects overlying a single expression: the essence of a valid pinot noir terroir.
448 cs produced, 14.9% alc
2006 Hirsch Vineyards “Hirsch” Estate Pinot Noir
The fruit in the 2006 Hirsch came from 33 of our 60 farming blocks, fermented in 21 lots. It is our signature wine, blended from the barrels that offered the deepest expression of our site and were deemed the most cellar-worthy. Because the winemaking follows the farming, this wine is made up of 21 small lots that only at bottling come together as a single, unique expression of the site.
2,296 cs produced, 14.5% alc