`Hirsch Vineyard` Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Sonoma County


Husband and wife team Ted and Heidi Lemon are behind this family run...

winery, established in 1993. Ted began his career in Burgundy and has worked for some of the region's top estates including Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault where he was winemaker and vineyard manager, the first American to ever hold such a position in Burgundy! Heidi has similarly worked for some of California's top producers including Robert Long Vineyards and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Ted and Heidi's mission with Littorai was to find the best spot to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along the littoral (coastal) zones of the U.S.A. They searched the west coast before finally finding their top spot in the 'true' north of California - the coastal mountains of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. All the vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 2001 and there is minimal intervention in the winemaking.

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The Hirsch vineyard is located on a series of hilltops which run inland from the Pacific Ocean, 12 miles to the northwest of Jenner, the town where the Russian River meets the coast. The elevation ranges from 365 to 472 metres and the vines are northeast facing. The soils are Hugo-Josephine complex and the vines trained on a vertical trellis system.

Vintage Information

2011 was a very cool summer compared to normal. Flowering was late; the second half of June for all sites. The fruit set was very modest with many sites producing very small, seedless, "shot" berries. While such berries are great for wine quality due to the large skin to juice ratio, they dramatically reduce yields. During the first two weeks of September, the fog intrusion began to retreat as temperatures rose with lovely weather. Early October was marked by two significant spells of rainfall. Only on the 14th of October did a drier, warmer pattern begin again. With the 2011 vintage, the exceptional quality was due to patiently waiting for true ripeness and better weather.


Yields were 342 hectolitres per hectare. This wine was made using 20% whole bunch fermentation in traditional open-top fermenters using native yeasts. Once malolactic fermentation was complete, the wine was aged in 25% new French oak barrels for a period of 16 months.

Tasting Notes

Herbal notes, juniper berry, black tea, graphite and ferrous tones all converge in this dark and brooding version of Hirsch. While the 2010 had a very delicate quality, the 2011 is all about concentration, density and tannin. It has an intense attack with juicy acidity and a long, complete finish. It will richly reward those who lay it down for a few years.

Vintage Information

Vintage 2011
Grape varieties 100% Pinot Noir
Region Sonoma County, California
Winemaker Ted Lemon
Alcohol (ABV) 13.2%
Acidity 6g/l
Residual Sugar 0.2g/l
Wine pH 3.55