When Stephen Singer and his wife started scouting potential vineyard locations in California, they zeroed in on the area around Sebastopol in Sonoma Coast. "I was particularly drawn to Sonoma overall, but what drew me to this area per se was its low-key rhythm and the open, rolling-hill beauty of West County."
Stephen and his wife ultimately purchased an old apple orchard whose trees lined both sides of a north-south valley. The site was perfect, with great sun exposure and drainage. Most importantly, the property was adjacent to Ben Hurst's.
The Hursts have a long history in Sebastopol. For generations, they were one of its major apple growers. By the 1990s, Sonoma Coast had become an elite appellation for Pinot Noir. In 1999, Ben made the difficult decision to convert the family orchard into a Pinot vineyard.
Since then, Ben's Pinot vines have matured, and he's become an expert grower. He not only helped the Singers clear their property and plant their own vineyard, he also contributed the fruit for this Pinot. (In return, he bottles a Syrah with fruit from the Singer's vineyard.)
Stephen made a splash with his inaugural release of the 2004 Hurst Vineyard Pinot Noir. It's full of dark fruit, exotic spices, and it earned a much-deserved excellent review by expert Stephen Tanzer in the International Wine Cellar.
The 2005 vintage of Hurst Vineyard Pinot is even better. Lively berry and red fruit elements dominate the initial bouquet. After a few minutes in the glass, the wine opens up to fuller oriental spice and plum notes, a light toasty, sweet oak element, and a sense of fully ripe fruit. The wine's fine acid structure is well integrated, and the ample mid-palate texture joins with it to lend balance and tone. Drink now--2010.
Suggested Food Pairings:
Mild St. Augur blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Comte, or any of Cowgirl Creamery's cow's milk cheeses. Serve it with roast a duck or get some duck confit. Also great over a salad of fresh dressed greens using just a mild oil like hazelnut or walnut oil, NO vinegar.