2020 Hirsch 'San Andreas Fault' Estate Pinot Noir
Over 40 years of farming and winemaking on the True Sonoma Coast, David Hirsch’s accumulated wisdom has shown us that the dominant influence on our farming and winemaking is the San Andreas Fault, which lies just half a mile from the Hirsch Vineyard. The wine that captures the complexity and energy of this geologic phenomenon is our San Andreas Fault Estate Pinot Noir, the wine that David calls “the Hirsch Hirsch”.
Hirsch Vineyards is comprised of 72 acres, divided into 67 individual farming blocks, corresponding to the dramatic and sudden changes in soil and aspect created by the Fault. This degree of fragmentation is unmatched even by the famously subdivided vineyards of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits. The vineyard has a fearsome diversity of soils, aspects, elevations and microclimates. This complexity defines our farming and winemaking practices: each block was individually developed and is now farmed, harvested and vinified separately.
The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch’s signature pinot noir and is crafted to represent the entirety of this multifaceted vineyard. The 2020 San Andreas Fault has fruit from 31 distinct farming blocks. It is the flagship wine from Hirsch, and the wine that represents the summation of our complex vineyard.
As with the other Hirsch Pinot Noirs of this vintage, the 2020 San Andreas is notable for its dark fruit and serious structure. The wine opens with notes of elderberry, blackberry, fresh red plums, and dried cherries. With air, notes of five spice, chai tea and dried orange peel emerge. The overall impression is exotic and reminiscent of our coastal redwood forests. The palate is juicy upon opening with, firm, chewy tannins. With air, the fruit gains weight and the palate fills out, balancing the tannins. The structure and dark fruit of the 2020s remind us of the exceptional 2012 and 2015 vintages. This is a savory and intellectual year that will reward the patient drinker.
We recommend decanting this wine for one hour before drinking, if opened within 1-2 years of release.