The 2013 Vintage
Each vintage is a child of the marriage of the sun and earth. That is, it is the result of the interaction of the weather on the site. Due to the complexity of our site (the geologic mélange produced by the San Andreas Fault, the marine influence of the Pacific only a few miles to the west, the effects of the heavy rains of the rain forest, the continental influences which can produce high temperatures, the permutations of aspect and slope, and the problematic weather) it is unusual that vintages are similar. However, 2013 is profoundly reminiscent of 2006, in both the growing conditions and the wines. In both vintages, our quixotic San Andrean climate conspired to produce apt conditions at pretty much every stage of vine development right up to harvest. This resulted in bountiful vintages of gorgeous and aromatic wines.
The winter weather was on the warm and dry side so the soil in the root zone did not cool down much. Bud swell and break began in late February just as we finished pruning. The pruning wood was average in size and tone so we did not expect a large harvest.
Bud break was prevalent in all blocks by March 20. We received rain and warm temperatures in April, which led to an early flowering on May 11. The crop was set on June 15, a week earlier than 2012. In mid June some vines showed water stress due the lack of rain, which we addressed with irrigation. Then our problematic weather dance showed itself by dumping 2.5” of rain June 23-26. So much for the stress. Not only did the rain alleviate the water stress on the vines, it helped increase the size of the berries and this, with some very hot weather around July 4, lead to another large crop.
Veraision was early, July 22, and we began the green harvest July 24 to balance the fruit load to the vine vigor. The significant impacts of the weather in July were clear skies, moderate temperatures, and high afternoon humidity, allowing for slow and even ripening. These ideal maturation conditions resulted in complex and concentrated wines.
On August 21, we picked a few tons from field 11 for sparkling wine. The still wine harvest began September 3. The inevitable harvest heat spike arrived September 6 to 9 with subsequent cooling. The harvest was over on September 14, making the 2013 harvest the most compact on record.
All the fruit was farmed following biodynamic practices with especial attention to soil health through composting and cover crops. This bodes well for ample amounts of very good wine expressive of the distinct complexity of the Hirsch site.
THE 2013 WINES
In 2013 we produced the following wines at Hirsch Vineyards:
There are a mere 3.9 acres of chardonnay vines planted at Hirsch. From this tiny planting, we produce one wine per year, our Hirsch Vineyards Estate Chardonnay. Purity, restraint, acidity and moderate use of new oak define this wine. Wine and Spirits Magazine “Year’s Best U.S. Chardonnay” list, October 2015 issue. 13.5% alc.
The 2013 Bohan-Dillon Estate Pinot Noir is 100% Hirsch, 100% estate. It is an affordable world-class pinot noir that brings to your glass the full spectrum of Hirsch, at a very agreeable price. 13.0% alc.
The San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir is the flagship wine from Hirsch, and the wine that represents the summation of our complex vineyard. 100% Hirsch. 13.1% alc.
The West Ridge Estate Pinot Noir is a very limited production bottling from the oldest and most exceptional sections on the cool West Ridge of Hirsch. It is a wine that seduces with complexity and mystery, rather than with power. The West Ridge is the most delicate of our wines, with soft tannins and transparent fruit. 12.5% alc.
The East Ridge Estate Pinot Noir is from the warmest part of the vineyard, a topographically distinct micro-site within the Hirsch Vineyard. The East Ridge Pinot Noir is a powerful expression of the Hirsch Vineyard, with fantastic structure, concentration and fruit. 12.8% alc.
The Hirsch Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir is a selection of the best barrels from the oldest and finest vineyard blocks at Hirsch. It is a true reserve of very limited production. 12.8% alc.
Located on the western ridge of the Hirsch Vineyard, Block 8 has long seduced us with its power, complexity and singular character. David Hirsch has always considered this his grand cru parcel. The Block 8 Pinot Noir is produced 100% from this special block, planted in 1993 to the heritage pinot noir clone of Pommard mixed with Wädenswil. 12.8% alc.