2017 Hirsch 'West Ridge' Estate Pinot Noir
The West Ridge is a series of three hilltop vineyards - Blocks 6, 7 and 12 - spread like vertebrae along a spine. The soils on the West Ridge are highly heterogeneous, ranging from heavy black clay to sand to loam to yellow clay mixed with rock.
The foundation of the West Ridge Estate Pinot Noir is Block 7, planted in 1990 with cuttings David Hirsch took from the Mount Eden Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is a true massale selection, with a diverse genetic makeup. The lineage of these plants can be traced back to Paul Masson, who brought Pinot Noir cuttings from Burgundy to California in the late 1800s. The genetic diversity of the plants imparts greater complexity to the wine. The vines are however stricken with leaf-roll virus, a disease that causes the leaves to turn red very early on in the growing season. This inhibits the ability of the vines to carry out photosynthesis and produce sugar. The result is wines that are more delicate, naturally lower in alcohol, and have extremely fine tannins.
The West Ridge Pinot Noir also includes the very best barrels from Blocks 6 and 12, planted to the heritage California Pinot Noir clones of Swan and Pommard-Wädenswil.
The West Ridge is the most delicate and transparent of our wines, seducing with complexity and mystery, rather than with power.