2020 Hirsch 'West Ridge' Estate Pinot Noir
The West Ridge is a north-south ridgeline, with the vineyards planted on the ridgetops. Predominantly comprised of very heavy, black clay, the soils are highly compacted, and act more like bedrock than typical clay. This inhospitable environment stresses the vines and inhibits vigor. It is one of our most challenging vineyard sites, yet produces wines that are ethereal, fragile and hauntingly aromatic.
The foundation of the West Ridge Pinot Noir is Block 7, planted in 1992 with cuttings David Hirsch took from the Mount Eden Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains (read his complete history here). 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, but also perpetuates the leaf-roll virus that came with the vines from Burgundy. This virus 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 is the most transparent of our wines, seducing with complexity and mystery, rather than with power.