Tasting at Rhys

Rhys Vineyards

Tasted April 5, 2012 - April 11, 2012 by alanr with 288 views

Introduction

Joined Frank Murray's group up at Rhys to sit down and taste through most of the 2010s, and a few additions. A spectacularly clear day to sit in the renovated upstairs tasting room, look out over the South Bay, and sample some excellent wines, led by an enthusiastic and informative Jeff Brinkman.

Flight 1 - Rhys Chardonnays (4 notes)

A sampling of the two vineyard Chardonnays from three vintages. I was blown away by the quality and uniqueness of these wines, which have an unusual level of intensity and concentration for such low alcohol wines. These wines resist being connected to either Burgundy or other California, they are uniquely Rhys.

White
2010 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Very rich, intense, honey, dried pineapple, full bodied, great acidity, long finish. A bit rounder and softer than the 2010 Alpine, but still plenty of cut. These Rhys Chardonnays are in a world of their own, resisting any obvious connection to either Burgundy or other California wines. Fabulous and unique.
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White
2010 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Very rich, orange blossom honey, fabulous piercing acidity, lemon, steely mineral finish. Another example of the uniqueness and intense concentration of the Rhys Chardonnays, somehow achieving these levels while maintaining amazing acidity and balance.
White
2007 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Peach pit, stone, flint, touch of smoke, great acidity, mineral, polished steel, a more reserved Rhys Chardonnay, though still plenty of concentration.
White
2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Intense, rich, honeyed, dried pineapple, fabulous acidity, excellent finish. Achieves levels of concentration and flavor, together with balancing acidity unlike many other wines in the world. Hard to describe these Rhys Chardonnays, they resist being categorized as "burgundian" or "Californian," they are their own category.

Flight 2 - Rhys Pinots (10 notes)

Next, on to the Pinots, I think the entire range from 2010, plus a couple of earlier vintages for comparison. There is a broader range of wines coming from the various vineyards, with a couple reaching elevated heights (no pun intended), and all of them being at least very good.

Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir San Mateo County USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
88 points
Leads with a strong nose of whole cluster, then nice, darker raspberry/strawberry fruit, good structure, loamy spice, creosote, nice acidity.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
91 points
Moderate stems on the nose, then dark dried cherry, orange peel, good acidity and nice structure overall.
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Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay
Less obvious whole cluster on the nose in this wine, nice dried cherry fruit, excellent structure, drinks quite well even at this youthful stage. Very nice.
Red
2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay
91 points
Rich nose with stems and spice, palate shows slightly underripe deep cherry, nice texture, good balance.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
90 points
Stems and spice on the nose, palate is rich, lush black cherry, nicely balanced, decent acidity. Enjoyable, and a pretty clear distinction between this and the Santa Cruz Mountains wines.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Earthy loamy nose, med-light body, beautiful cherry/raspberry, excellent acidity, mineral strawberry finish. Lovely and elegant.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Medium dark cherry, a nice savory component, good acidity. Quite nice.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Rich black cherry, grilled meats, orange peel, good balance.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
94 points
Nose of floral spice and face powder; Deep, rich, enticing elegant black cherry, excellent structure, fine tannins, good acidity. Fabulous.
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Red
2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Dark black cherry, juicy and lush but with good balancing acidity.

Flight 3 - Rhys Syrahs (2 notes)

Finished off with the two vineyard Syrahs, which show great promise for this cool climate location.

Red
2010 Rhys Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Beautiful reserved dark boysenberry fruit, good acidity, fine tannins, pepper, green olive. Wonderful cool climate syrah.
Red
2010 Rhys Syrah Skyline Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Light stem nose, gorgeous reserved blue/blackberry fruit, face powder, structured more around acidity than tannins. Nice syrah.

Closing

Thanks again to Jeff, and Kevin for letting us all come up and spend an afternoon. And to Frank for including me.