2021 Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir "San Andreas Fault", Sonoma Coast, California, USA

The tannins are perfectly balanced with the fruit density, ensuring a very long life in the cellar. The texture is particularly noteworthy: the 2021 Pinot Noirs are glossy, sapid and show fabulous continuity and length. These wines promise to be highly age-worthy with a long drinking window.


There are 7 units left in stock.

About This Wine 

After a wet December 2020, the rest of winter was dry and relatively mild. The vines were late to hibernate after the 2020 harvest, and we delayed the 2021 pruning as long as possible.

A dry winter was followed by a cold, difficult spring. Icy winds off the Pacific Ocean buffeted the vines early in their growing season, stunting shoot growth. However, due to our many years of focused work on soil health, most of the vines would recover their vigor by the time summer rolled around.

By the first weekend in April it began to warm up. Bud break started all over the ranch at the same time, and the push was very even. In late April we received a small amount of rain, but it was not enough to change the trajectory of the season, which would clearly be defined by drought. Overall, rainfall was only 30% of normal at Hirsch.

Bloom started in the middle of May. A cold wind blew off the Pacific Ocean for two weeks, slowing bloom and overall vine growth. The canopies were shorter than usual, due to the lack of water and cold spring weather. A warming trend in late May and early June was a blessing, moving bloom and set along quickly.

In early June, with set not yet finished, it cooled off again, accompanied by strong winds, especially on the higher elevation Raschen Ridge and the ocean-facing Maritime Fields.

The first heat wave of the season occured in mid-June. This was a warm and very early heat wave by historical standards. Many of our fields were just finishing set, and the berries had not yet developed the waxy outer coating that protects them from the sun. Some grapes were sunburned and had to be removed.

Despite this variable spring weather, once it warmed up and the wind died down, most of the vineyards regained their vigor and health, a testament to the benefits of biodynamics and good soil health.

The exceptions were some of our older, virused vines on the East and West Ridges, which required even more intense farming than usual. The diminished canopies in these fields never recovered from the difficult spring, and an aggressive green drop was carried out to ensure ripening could be achieved without stressing the vines even further.

July and August saw ideal weather, with most days in the 70s and 80s. Despite inland heat, we saw only six days over 90 degrees out on the coast.  Overall it was a mild and sunny summer, which traditionally has resulted in concentrated, elegant wines.

The last weekend of August it warmed up and we started the harvest on August 30. It cooled off again almost immediately, gifting us with a long and ideal picking window. They picked all week, not stopping to rest, and brought in the entire vineyard in less than 14 days. Overall an intense but rewarding harvest.

The 2021 Wines

The 2021 wines are notable for their elegant density, balanced tannins, exuberant aromatics and fabulous texture. The finishes are very long. In their youth, the wines are expressive on the nose, and a bit tight through the midpalate. They will need time to settle down, and expect them to start opening up two to five years after release. The 2021 Pinot Noirs promise to be highly age-worthy wines with a long drinking window.

About This Producer
David Hirsch founded the vineyard on the extreme Sonoma Coast to grow fruit and make site-specific wine. The pinot noir and chardonnay wines from Hirsch Winery give the passionate drinker an experience of the clash of opposites meeting in Nature and Life: the edge of the continent washed by the sea; the eviternal grinding of the North American and Pacific plates along the San Andreas Fault. 

Perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross, Hirsch Vineyards is the birth ground of great pinot noir on the extreme Sonoma Coast. David Hirsch founded the vineyard in 1980 to grow fruit and make site-specific wine. From the start all efforts have been on the growing of fruit that makes wines profoundly characteristic of the site vintage after vintage.

The wines from Hirsch Vineyards give the passionate drinker an experience of the clash of opposites meeting in Nature and Life: the edge of the continent washed by the sea; the eviternal grinding of the North American and Pacific plates along the San Andreas Fault; the wet winters and dry summers caused by the ocean and desert climates; the dripping rainforest and parched pastures; the contact and intermingling of cultures: Native American, Mexican, Russian, European; the change in rural economy from logging and ranching to winegrowing.


Grape(s) Pinot Noir
Farming Biodynamic