The 2014 Vintage
From time to time Nature provides a gift which we accept with gratitude and humility knowing our contributions to the bounty are minimal. In 2014 we were given superior yields with very good quality.
The growing season truly starts in winter after the vines drop their leaves and prepare for dormancy. A cold winter puts them to sleep so little of their stored nutrients are used prior to bud break. When they awaken in the spring there is ample food for growth regardless of the weather. Sharp frosts in December 2014 did the trick. There was good pruning wood that allowed us to leave many buds on the wire for shoot growth in the spring.
This was the third year of light rainfall. The warm weather in late winter and early spring warmed the soil quickly producing early bud break and good shoot elongation with plenty of early leaves. This helped the vines make adequate photosynthates to support growth and fruit development. Bloom time weather was good with minimal shatter. The crop was set by June 5 and berry sizing, the key to total production, continued well into veraison. Harvest kicked off August 23 and ended on September 8.
The high quality of the 2014 fruit and its wines is a function of the balance between soils and weather and its effect on the vines and fruit. We have made serious efforts to enhance the health of our soils, mainly by composting, cover crops, and moderate tillage. The use of biodynamic preparations and teas in harmony with the aggregation of humus in the soil creates an organic metabolism that gives the plants what they need when they need it. Nitrogen becomes a carrier of key minerals and nutrients, not a growth “steroid.” Water is held in the humus and then released slowly to the root hairs for uptake into the vine. These processes act to control vigor and support profound maturation of the fruit. The result is a large crop with balance between acids, tannins and fruit components.
THE 2014 WINES
In 2014, 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. 13.3% alc.
The 2014 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. 13.4% 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. More than 30 distinct farming blocks go into this wine, more than any other wine made from the Hirsch Vineyard. 12.7 % 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. 12.7% 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 masculine and powerful expression of the Hirsch Vineyard, with fantastic structure, concentration and fruit. 12.5% alc.
This is the first vintage we have produced this wine, which is sourced from our highest elevation vineyards. Here our marine, riverine and continental climates meet, merging heat & coolness, moisture & dryness, uplift & erosion. The wine is itself an exercise in resolved opposites: sexy and serious, drinkable and age-worthy, for both the hedonist and the collector. Henry Raschen (1854–1937) was a painter of the American West who lived on the ranch that is now Hirsch Vineyards. Old-timers called our ranch the Raschen Place, and Henry’s house stood here until 1954. 12.6% 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. Produced in magnum and 750ml.
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. 13.1% alc. Produced in magnum and 750ml.