Byron Kosuge, Pinot Noir 2018, Hirsch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA
This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Byron Kosuge is well-balanced, with juicy, dark berry fruit, earthiness, and a little bit of spice, and fine tannins. It’s powerful but not overpowering.
APPELLATION (AVA): Sonoma Coast
VINEYARD: Hirsch Vineyard
GRAPES: Pinot Noir
VINIFICATION: Aged in neutral oak.
BODY: Light to medium
PRIMARY AROMAS: Dark cherry, spice, black licorice
FLAVOR: Blackberry, plum, pepper, gentle tannins
FORMAT: 750 ml
SERVICE AND FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pair with roasted duck with cherry sauce.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER: Byron Kosuge
“I’ve been making wine for 30 years. I have always been hands-on—walking the vineyards, working the vines, sorting grapes when they arrive at the winery, pumping over and punching down, driving the forklift, dragging hoses, even fixing bottling machines myself. This is the way I like it (well, maybe not the bottling machine part). I am constantly studying the grapevines and the ground in which they’re planted. Understanding where your fruit comes from doesn’t just happen. When I go snooping around in the vineyards, I like to joke that I’m off to “become one with the vines.” But there’s always a little truth in jest, no?
For many years, I have wondered how we'll be making wine in California many years from now. What will the "California Tradition" look like? Will we still be using French Oak barrels? Will we even be growing grapes in the same locations? After much deliberation, I decided that I should pursue the answers myself. I have met many interesting and inspiring winemakers over the years, and have tasted wines grown and made in many different ways. Instead of relying on the tried and true, the rest of my career is going to be spent pushing forward. Mind you, there are some goofy things I've seen that my wines will never endure; however, exploring the use of alternate vessels--concrete, oak, steel-for aging and fermenting, larger oak barrels, and stripping away additives and modern conveniences is how I think I will find my way forward. This, I believe, will yield more compelling wines, more pure, more honest. Not that I have been impure or dishonest in the past, of course, and the wines still need to taste good and be fun to drink.” (bkosugewines.com)
ABOUT THE VINEYARD: Hirsch Vineyard
“David Hirsch purchased the land that would become Hirsch Vineyards in 1978. For millions of years, this land was a temperate zone rain forest, but the redwoods had long since been cut down, and by 1978, it was a sheep ranch.
“David planted his first vines in 1980, making it one of the oldest vineyards on the True Sonoma Coast. By the early 1990s, the vineyard had became one of the most sought-after sources for Pinot Noir and Chard. grapes in California, and wineries such Littorai, Williams Selyem, Kistler and Failla all made Hirsch-designated wines.
“In 2002, after twenty-two years focused on planting and farming, David Hirsch made the decision to build a winery and start making his own wines. The primary motivation was to provide feedback to his farming decisions: with more than 60 farming parcels, spread out over 72 acres, David wanted to taste each individually, to better understand the nature of each parcel’s unique soil and climate, the conditions of the vintage, and the consequences of his farming decisions. In other words, he built a winery to become a better farmer.
“In 2011 David began the process of converting his vineyards to biodynamic viticulture. By 2014, all 72 acres of vines as well as the gardens and orchards were fully under biodynamic practice.” (hirschvineyards.com)