Sheep, Mushrooms & Great Pinots: Discussion with David Hirsch
My better half, John, me and David Hirsch
I had the chance to sit down with David Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards at a wine dinner at Lakewood Country Club this week. Hirsch Vineyards was born out of a desire for peace and quiet when David and his wife, Marie, bought a sheep farm in Sonoma. His winemaker friend, Jim Beauregard, convinced him to plant grapes, and by 2002 Hirsch vineyards was making wine.
Hirsch, which sells grapes to some of the top Pinot producers including William Selyham, has a philosophy “from trailer to tractor.” The star of the show here is the land and the grapes that are grown. It’s a family-owned venture. Hirsch’s wife designs the labels and his daughter, Jasmine, is responsible for marketing and social media.
Judging from the wines that were served to us that night, the focus is where it needs to be. The reception started with a 08 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay ($50), from Sonoma Coast, which was palate cleansing. I tasted pineapple and lemon curd. It was a very nice wine.
Our first course was Chef William Koval’s celery root bisque, mustard fruit ravioli and poached Maine lobster, which paired sublimely with the 07 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay from Sonoma Coast ($75). This was a totally different from the first wine – more of a French style with minerality and muted tropical fruit. Hirsch told us that this site was almost designated to plant mushrooms. The wine loving public should thank him for making the right choice.
Our second course was seared filet of turbo served with Spanish chorizo, chanterelle mushrooms, artichoke and ver jus served with the 08 Bohan Dillion Hirsch Vineyards, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($30). Priced to be a quality wine at an affordable price, the grapes here are harvested exactly like the other pinots and blended barrel by barrel. The name of the wine is focused on the land – the road Hirsch is on is Bohan Dillion Road and the bottle depicts a ranch scene. If you can find this wine, buy it.
Our third course was a prime NY strip loin with comte potato, roasted acorn squash, shallot and pinot plum sauce. Served with a 06 Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast ($75), you could tell the magic of old vines with berry, chocolate and liquorce notes. This was an excellent wine that I would buy for a special occasion.
Our final debauchery came in the form of an artisan cheese plate served with the 08 Hirsch Vineyards “M” Pinot Noir ($45), which is in its first vintage. Another big beautiful pinot, but at a lesser price. Hirsch is definitely a winery that is defined by its product vs. its marketing and you can tell the difference.