THE 2017 VINTAGE
The winter of 2016-17 was cold and wet. Record rains brought an end to California’s five year drought.
It finally warmed up the second week of March and the buds started to swell. Already we could tell that it would be a very even vintage across the vineyard.
Good spring weather was interrupted with a light rain in early June, right in the middle of bloom. This led to a moderate amount of shatter, slightly lowering yields but far from catastrophic. A helpful heatwave in the middle of June moved the vines along, and we were at 90% set as of June 20th.
June and July were very warm, with hardly any nighttime fog, which is quite unusual for the Sonoma Coast. Compared with other locations throughout Sonoma, our maximum daytime temps were among the lowest, as is typical for our extreme coastal site, but our nighttime temps were among the warmest. The end of July provided a respite from the heat, as the fog came back and we saw cooler days and cold nights. A more typical, fog-driven weather pattern settled in for most of August.
On September 1st a three-day heat wave, began with very warm days and nights. Luckily we could see the heat coming in the forecast, and we aggressively watered the vines in preparation. This preserved berry integrity and protected the vines from the worst of the heat stress.
Harvest kicked off with a bang on September 1st. The vineyard team worked overtime to bring in the grapes, and harvest ended on September 12th. It was one of our most compact harvests in many years.
THE 2017 WINES
The 2017 vintage gifted us with wines of elegance and delicate structure. The Pinot Noirs are earthy and red fruited, and have a dynamic old school quality, balancing ripeness and tannin. They're showing well young, with supple tannins and expressive fruit, yet also possess the acidity to age.
In 2017, 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. Warmer temps during the 2017 growing season added a touch of weight and luxuriousness to the Chardonnay this year.
The Bohan Dillon is an affordable world-class Pinot Noir that brings to your glass the full spectrum of the True Sonoma Coast. Precociously charming and utterly quaffable, this wine is produced using the exact same winemaking methods and with the same attention to detail as our other pinots. The 2017 Bohan Dillon is a blend of 70% Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir and 30% Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir, the only vineyard contiguous to Hirsch.
To craft the 2017 Family Blend, David and Jasmine Hirsch selected three of our most delicious and happiness-inducing barrels from the 2017 vintage. This is a wine with the drinkability and lustiness of our Bohan Dillon Pinot, but with heightened concentration and complexity.
The San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir is the flagship wine from Hirsch, and the wine that represents the summation of our complex vineyard. David Hirsch says if you drink only one of our wines this should be it. 100% estate, 100% Hirsch. Produced in magnum, 750ml and 375ml.
The West Ridge Estate Pinot Noir is a very limited production bottling from the cool Western Ridge of Hirsch. Heavy clay soils and leaf-roll virus act as dramatic stressors to the vines in part of the West Ridge, resulting in a wine of delicacy, ethereal fruit and soft tannins. It is a wine that seduces with perfume and mystery, rather than with power.
Produced in magnum and 750ml.
The East Ridge is a topographically distinct micro-site within the Hirsch Vineyard, sloping steeply into our eastern canyon and thereby relatively protected from the Pacific Ocean. Two thirds of the vines on the East Ridge have phylloxera, a disease that attacks the roots and inhibits the vine’s uptake of nutrients. This results in some of the lowest yields at Hirsch, and requires extremely intensive and careful farming. The East Ridge Pinot Noir is a masculine and powerful expression of the Hirsch Vineyard, with fantastic structure, concentration and fruit. One of our most cellar-worthy wines. Produced in magnum and 750ml.
Made from the highest elevation vineyards at Hirsch, the Raschen Ridge Estate Pinot Noir is a wine of electric, kinetic expressiveness. Highly perfumed with bright red fruit on the nose, it has tremendous structure and concentration on the palate. Sexy and serious, drinkable and age-worthy, the Raschen Ridge is a wine 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.
Produced in magnum and 750ml.
Block 8 has long seduced us with its power, complexity and singular character. David Hirsch has always considered this his grand cru parcel. The soils here are comprised of a reddish rock, high in iron oxide and with superb drainage. The Block 8 Pinot Noir is produced 100% from this special block, planted in 1993 to a field blend of the heritage Pinot Noir clones of Pommard and Wädenswil. The 2017 Block 8 Pinot Noir has dark red fruit, well-integrated tannins, charming aromatics, and that ineffable Block 8 character. In this wine you will find a pure and focused expression of one of the most unique sections of the Hirsch Vineyard. Produced in magnum and 750ml.
The Hirsch Reserve Pinot Noir is a selection of our best barrels from the oldest and finest vineyard blocks at Hirsch. It is the highest expression of this complex and deeply expressive site, and a true reserve of very limited production. The 2017 Reserve possesses dark fruit complimented by savory, earthy aromatics. Classic Hirsch tannins provide backbone and gravitas. A true reserve of very limited production. Produced in magnum, 750ml and 375ml.