THE 2019 VINTAGE
The 2019 growing season was notable for its cold spring and temperate summer. A wet winter gave the land a much-needed drink and set the vines up for good health in the coming season. Wonderfully mild summer weather continued into harvest, giving us the rare gift of time. The result shows in the wines, which have an effortless grace and charm
The 2019 Pinot Noirs are classic Hirsch. Red fruited, exuberant and with elegant tannins, they're reminiscent of the superb 2016 vintage. The Chardonnay possesses a luxurious mouthfeel, harmonious structure, complex aromatics and remarkable length.
In the winter of 2018, Jasmine Hirsch stepped into the role of winemaker at Hirsch Vineyards. She blended and bottled the 2018s, but 2019 is the first vintage made by her from stem to stern.
The winter of 2019 was cold and wet. Record-breaking rains in February flooded the Russian River Valley and dropped 18” at Hirsch in just three days. Downed trees blocked our access roads and we hunkered down until the roads could be cleared. These wet, cold conditions persisted for much of the winter, allowing the vines to properly hibernate and rest, and for water stores to replenish.
A short spell of warm weather in March brought life forth from the ground, and the cover crops began to grow in abundance. 2019 kept us busy with mowing! Bud break started soon after, around April 4.
In mid-May, we received a late rainfall of almost 10”. Luckily the cold weather had slowed the vines’ growth, and bloom was still three weeks away. In 2005, a similar late rain had occurred during bloom, destroying 75% of the flowers, so the timing this year was a great blessing.
The May rains saturated and cooled the soil. Combined with a spell of cool, cloudy weather, the vines struggled with photosynthesis. We delayed shoot thinning, preserving as many leaves on the vines as possible. Our farm manager foraged wild horsetail to make a spray for the vines, and compost tea was applied to combat the weak growth.
June brought improved weather and the canopies thrived under sunny skies. The vines moved from bloom to set very quickly (June 3 to 23rd). With our maritime climate, the time from bloom to set can be as long as 6 weeks, which increases variability in the ripening. The much shorter bloom period in 2019 promoted evenness and quality throughout.
The rest of the summer was mostly mild and sunny, with some fog that increased seasonal mildew pressure. There were very few truly hot days: in 2019 there were only five days at Hirsch that passed 90 degrees.
Early September weather was mild and easy-going. Temperatures ranged from the high 60s to the low 80s, fog was minimal, and the days were beautiful and sunny. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the final days of maturation.
Harvest started on September 4 and proceeded at a mellow pace until it warmed up slightly on September 12. We began to pick in earnest, finishing the harvest on September 23. This 20-day harvest contrasts with warmer years, where we may pick the entire vineyard in just 12 days. The 2019 vintage gave us the rare gift of time, allowing us to dial in our farming and our winemaking decisions.
THE 2019 WINES
The 2019 Pinot Noirs are classic Hirsch. They're red fruited and exuberant, with elegant tannins. There is a grace and delicacy that runs through many of the wines. They remind us of the superb 2016s, which were similarly juicy and expressive when young, and which are now starting to settle into themselves.
In 2019, we produced the following wines at Hirsch Vineyards:
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ESTATE CHARDONNAY
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. The 2019 Chardonnay possesses a luxurious mouthfeel, harmonious structure, complex aromatics and remarkable length.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘BOHAN DILLON’ PINOT NOIR
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. In 2019, about half of the grapes in the Bohan-Dillon Pinot Noir came from our 30-year-old vines; these are serious Pinot Noir vineyards, farmed biodynamically with great care on the True Sonoma Coast. Three percent of the 2019 Bohan-Dillon Pinot Noir comes from the Hellenthal Vineyard, the only vineyard contiguous to Hirsch.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘FAMILY BLEND’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
To craft the 2019 Family Blend, David and Jasmine Hirsch selected eight of our most delicious and happiness-inducing barrels from the 2018 vintage. This is a wine with the drinkability and lustiness of our Bohan Dillon Pinot, but with heightened concentration and complexity.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘SAN ANDREAS FAULT’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘MARITIME RIDGE’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
David Hirsch planted the Maritime Fields in 1990. Just five years later, they tragically succumbed to the vine disease phylloxera. Undaunted, he replanted them. 2019 marks just the second release of the Maritime Estate Pinot Noir, twenty-nine years after first breaking ground. This wine is a deep expression of a unique and particular place, and a celebration of David's determination and optimism.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘WEST RIDGE’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘EAST RIDGE’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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 powerful expression of the Hirsch Vineyard, with fantastic structure, concentration and fruit. One of our most cellar-worthy wines. Produced in magnum and 750ml.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘RASCHEN RIDGE’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘BLOCK 8’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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. 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.
2019 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ‘RESERVE’ ESTATE PINOT NOIR
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 2019 Reserve may be the finest wine of the vintage. Classic Hirsch tannins provide backbone and gravitas. A true reserve of very limited production. Produced in magnum, 750ml and 375ml.