2012 Hirsch Vineyards - West and East Ridge Estate Pinot Noir

Hirsch Vineyards is so well known amongst the wine-lovers that I can skip any detailed introduction. They also have one of the most informative websites (http://www.hirschvineyards.com), where you will be able to find detailed information about David Hirsch's operation, the winemaking philosophy, the people behind these wines, the vintages' details and the site's pedoclimatic details.

I wish just to remark why, for me, David Hirsch is such a big figure in Californian wine history. He has been a pioneer of Sonoma Coast, unearthing a prodigious Terroir there where it was only sheep-land, redwood trees and the bracing ocean in your face. His importance is not related to the deliciousness of his wines, but to the never-obsolete lesson that you need to dream and dare big if you want to win big.

The 2012 vintage has been one of the very best for Hirsch Vineyards, giving fruit of spectacular quality that has been expertly and respectfully transformed into the finest and most cellar-worthy wines. 

The 2012 West and East Ridge Estate are amongst the best Pinot Noir I have tasted from California, or from the whole globe - to be honest.
Both wines are characterised by pure integrity and they are also very 'transparent' in showing the vintage features, which immediately become clear when tasting together few different vintages. Both wines possess enviable balance, with very fine tannins and a marked acidity giving backbone and verve to the soft and delicate pinot's fruit infused in the moderate alcohol contents. Their complexity is exceptional, especially in pinot noir's relative terms. Now, many of you will be disgusted by my opinion, but -yes- I think pinot noir is rarely a complex wine. I think indeed that, in at least 95% of the cases, it is a boring, over-priced and over-pretentious wine. I strongly believe that pinot noir variety is a 'non-grape', being instead a carrier of Terroir. It is a variety that has been designed to completely sacrifice its own personality to bring to light the Terroir's personality. A religious and mystic aspect that the Cistercian monks must have understood and loved centuries ago in Burgundy. Today Terroir is one of the most used and abused marketing words. Everyone will try to sell you wines of Terroir these days. My experience, however, is that the Terroirs that are able to give rise to distinctive and unique wines are really a handful around the world. It's therefore my option that the pinot noirs worth the premium price-tag are really a handful. And I believe Hirsch is one of these.  The persistence of flavours on the palate is thrilling and the several layers are developed one after another, from the most perfumed floral notes to the most intriguing mineral and flinty tones. Extremely food-friendly. I love here (hedonism) how delicacy and elegance are matched by a solid and polyhedric personality. Between the two I preferred the East Edge as I found in it an extra dimension, or at least something that particularly resonated with my strings. Both of them are approachable now but will reward those that -unlike myself- have the patience to let them rest in the cellar for the next decade or so.  


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