Last Friday I took part in a tasting at Chapel Hill Wine Company as part of the Triangle Wine Experience. Jasmine Hirsch was present pouring two Hirsch wines and a representative for Realm Cellars poured two of their wines. I've met Jasmine at the last two West of West Festivals in Sonoma County and she remembered my name. (She was at a wine dinner at St. Jacques French Cuisine Restaurant in Raleigh the previous night along with an owner from Cakebread Cellars. Jasmine impressed Lil Lacassagne, the owner of St. Jacques, where I had had lunch Friday, and Lil made a great impression on Jasmine. Mutual enthusiasm about wine and cuisine makes soulmates of many people.) The Hirsch Vineyards are located in far west Sonoma Coast region near the San Andreas faultline.
2012 HIRSCH VINEYARDS ESTATE CHARDONNAY. $55 a bottle from the winery and about $62 a bottle at the tasting in Chapel Hill, NC. 13.5% abv. I was pleasantly surprised by this vintage. In the past, I have found some Hirsch Chardonnay too "fat" for my taste, but this was as their website claims a wine in which "purity, restraint, acidity, and moderate oak define this wine." The website further says that "we strive to bring the acidity and minerality of the site forward, with fruit and oak playing a secondary role. With less than 4 acres of Chardonnay vines, production is very limited, and 100% of the fruit is kept for the estate." French oak, 15% new. It really is an impressive wine but priced beyond what I willingly pay for domestic Chardonnay. Because of the limited production this is not easily purchased unless you are on the mailing list or at a tasting such as this one.
2011 HIRSCH VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR SAN ANDREAS. This was offered at the tasting for $58.49. $60 from the vineyard. 13.4% abv. It has fruit from 27 farming blocks within Hirsch Vineyards. This was less exuberant than some vintages but had polish and restraint. The website says it has fantastic ageability. It was the second vintage crafted by Ross Cobb, formerly with Flowers Winery and Williams Selyem. Delicate cherry flavor.
2011 REALM "THE TEMPEST" PROPRIETARY RED. Offered at the tasting for $88.99. A Merlot-based red that drinks easily now (75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.) 93 points from Antonio Galloni and well received at the tasting. As AG says "one of the more feminine, gracious wines in the range." I could see this at a Valentine's Day dinner table.
2011 REALM "THE BARD" PROPRIETARY RED. Offered at $108.99. Napa Valley wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. A structured red blend that could be cellared for eight to ten years and would probably improve over the decade. AG awarded 94 points and speaks of plums, mocha and espresso. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot.