2011 Hirsch 'Estate' Chardonnay
While 2011 was considered a difficult vintage in much of California, it was one of the greatest we have ever seen on the coast. Cool, even temperatures during the summer combined with clear skies - light, light, light! - to produce some of the finest wines we've ever made. The 2011 Chardonnay is bright and focused, with piercing acidity. The fruit has broadened and deepened with age, resulting in a wine that combines the best of both worlds: the freshness of youth with the complexity of age!
As with all the wines from Hirsch, the purpose of our Chardonnay is to bring you a transparent expression of this unique vineyard site. Through our farming and winemaking, we strive to bring the acidity and minerality of the site forward, with fruit and oak playing a secondary role. With less than 4 acres of Chardonnay vines, production is very limited, and 100% of the fruit is kept for the Estate.
Our first Chardonnay vineyard was planted in 1994. That year, David Hirsch prepared 2.5 acres for planting on a rocky, 40% slope above his house. He was enamored with Barolo and had the crazy idea to put in Nebbiolo. Burt Williams, who has begun buying our Pinot Noir fruit for his winery Williams Selyem, told David he was nuts and should plant Chardonnay instead. Thus the old Chardonnay vineyard was born. The cuttings came from Joe Rochioli. Williams Selyem made the wine from 1997 to 2000; Kistler took the fruit through 2005. In 2002 David planted an additional 1.4 acres of Chardonnay on a sandstone hill in field 12, just over the hill from the old chardonnay vineyard. Together these two tiny plantings comprise our Estate Chardonnay, produced since 2006.