*Cellar Selection* A brilliant wine. Racy in acidity, silky in texture, yet powerful, it exudes the essence of Pinot Noir’s greatness. Shows great fruity ripeness in the cherry, Dr. Pepper cola, licorice and bacon flavors, and also a wild, forest quality of grilled mushrooms, thyme and fennel. Absolutely dry, with a firm spine of tannins, the structure is near perfect. A divine expression of Hirsch, and a good candidate for six years in the cellar.
Williams Selyem has purchased grapes from David Hirsch since 1994, with a short break in 2002 and '03; it was a strong relationship Bob Cabral inherited when he came onboard as winemaker in 1998. This wine comes from three blocks at the Hirsch Vineyard near Fort Ross, one planted to Mt. Eden, one to Pommard and one to Swan, all California heritage selections of Pinot Noir. As such, the wine falls into the delicate, graceful, harmonious mode rather than the dark, brooding intensity that some modern selections deliver. The tannin itself offers earthy sparks of brightness, its mineral length sweetened by the wild strawberry flavor of the fruit. It's mouthwatering coastal refreshment, a beautiful, sunny Pinot for any fresh catch from the Pacific.
**Two Stars** Built along firmer lines, this cherry and raspberry-scented offering is well-defined if somewhat tight and reluctant with its aromas. It focus, however, never wavers, and it keeps on coming from first to last, even in the face of squeezing acidity in the latter palate that creates a last-minute tug on its flavors. Still, this is a wine that has both varietal character and seeming depth on its side, and, whereas its mates above could grow with some cellaring, this one flat out demands it.
Deep, vivid red. Dark cherry and dried rose on the nose, with smoke and sassafras notes gaining power in the glass. Chewy and youthfully backward right now, slowly unfurling to offer bitter cherry and dark berry skin flavors. Strong, vaguely medicinal dark fruit qualities dominate the long, peppery finish. Give this lots of air if you're tempted to open one anytime soon. (ST)
Made in a more masculine, peppery, earthy, Pommard-like style, the medium to full-bodied, rich, substantial (for a Williams-Selyem Pinot) 2007 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard reveals good acidity as well as ripe tannin. It should be very long-lived, possibly 10-15 years. 92+ (RP)
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