The actions of the San Andreas and the heavy rains and high winds, assisted by the chainsaws of man and sharp hooves of sheep, have created the current landscape on which the Hirsch Vineyards are planted. Gone are the deep soils and compost of the rain forest, all washed away into the creeks, leaving thin soils over sandstone based assemblage of intermixed heavy clays, sandy loams, and clay loams. Blended into this mix in random ratios is a melange of rocks varying in origins and type from igneous to metamorphic to sedimentary shale so degraded it can be crushed by hand.
The diversity of this vineyard, emphasized and cared-for by David Hirsch, have made this property a beacon for wineries searching out the best Pinot Noir fruit in Sonoma, including the likes of Williams and Selyem, Failla, Lioco, and Siduri.
The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch Vineyards' signature Pinot Noir and is crafted to give the drinker a complete picture of this complex vineyard. The 2018 San Andreas Fault has fruit from 27 distinct farming blocks within Hirsch Vineyards, more than any wine produced from this site. It is named for the fault-line which marks the meeting of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates, snaking its way up the California coast and passing less than a mile from Hirsch.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2018s represent a real turning point for Hirsch. Jasmine Hirsch has taken on a more active role in winemaking, which is always great to see at a family run estate. Readers who have a chance to taste the 2018 Pinots should not hesitate, as they speak so eloquently to the striking differences that can be found on a single ranch in this part of the Sonoma Coast just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean in a cool year with a long growing season. The wines see minimal new oak and some whole cluster influence. More than anything else, this year I was so impressed by the precision and purity in the wines. Most of the 2018s will benefit from some aging, as the acids are bright at this stage, but they are well worth the wait."
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate San Andreas Fault is bright and beautifully lifted in the glass. Crushed red berry, mint and white pepper give the 2018 striking aromatics presence. Medium in body, nervy and finely delineated, the 2018 has a lot going on. I would give it a few years to soften, as the tannins are a bit fierce today. Time in the glass brings out the wine's inner perfume and a real feeling of finesse that will only grow with time."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir San Andreas Fault has a pale ruby color and alluring scents of licorice, forest floor, wild blackberries and mint, with bright touches of citrus peel. The palate is light-bodied with gentle grip and juicy, crunchy, earth-laced fruits, finishing long and delicate."