An Epic Night of Rhys

Sun Wah BBQ, Chicago IL

Tasted July 18, 2014 by KeithAkers with 91 views

Introduction

Jay Carroll hatched this brilliant idea for a tasting when he saw that there were other Rhys tasting threads in Wine Berserkers. Many of us agreed that this was a great idea, so a date was worked out and there were 11 of us that sat down to dig into 18 bottles of Rhys Chards and Pinots. To top things off, Kevin Harvey sent us 2 12s to sample along with everything else. That's what I call a major win!

Flight 1 - Starting Chard Flight (4 notes)

White
2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Nose: The nose starts off with a richness to it with marshmallows, vanilla beans, lemons, pears, red apples, and navel oranges. There is excellent layering and depth to it that really draws you in.

Taste: Full bodied with crisp medium/high acidity. The acidity is absolutely lip smacking and shows through with marshmallows, lemons, pears, red apples, and navel oranges.

Overall: This was served at room temperature and could've used a slight chill. Still, this was showing real class and depth. I would love to see where this goes with age as it feels like there is some baby fat that still needs to be shed.
White
2009 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Nose: The nose is deep, precise, and balanced with white fruits, pears, peaches, red apples, rocky minerals, and white florals. The nose really draws you in and this is more aromatic and high-toned than the 08.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium/high acidity. The structure is very youthful and the acidity is prominent. The feel is on the more nuanced side with white fruits, pears, red apples, navel oranges, rocky minerals, and white florals.

Overall: While this is very much on the young side, it is also a tremendous Chardonnay. This doesn't have the power of the 08, but instead there is a beautiful precision and nuanced side to this.
1 person found this helpful Comment
White
2010 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Nose: The nose is certainly on the tighter side and it takes several passes to get the tones of red apples, pears, marshmallows, white fruits, and some papaya. There is excellent depth that shows through the tightness.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with tart medium/high acidity. There is a sharpness to the acidity that is a bit overpowering with red apples, pears, white fruits, and some papaya notes.

Overall: This is most certainly on the young side. There are some excellent raw materials here and it needs time to fully show itself.
White
2009 Rhys Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
88 points
Nose: Even with a lot of air, there is a very rich quality to the nose with roasted marshmallows, vanilla, some clarified butter, and meyer lemons.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium acidity. The feel shows a much richer side, but it isn't overdone or flabby with roasted marshmallows, vanilla beans, meyer lemons, and some white peaches.

Overall: It wasn't fair having this right after a vertical of Alpine Chards. I did decant this for most of the afternoon to make sure air wouldn't be a problem. While I would like to know where this will go with time, this was my last bottle. It's still a very good Chardonnay, but it did suffer with the company.

Flight 2 - Alpine Pinot Vertical (5 notes)

Red
2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
90 points
Nose: The nose was just was wide open and had a quiet yell to it with red cherries, roses, rhubarb, baking spices, dark red florals, and dark red berries. There is excellent depth with a real attractive dark red fruit core.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and silky tannins. There is very good structure to the wine with rhubarb, red cherries, roses, baking spices, dark red florals, and earth tones. While there is excellent complexity, this did thin out quickly on the mid-palate and finish.

Overall: This was given an afternoon in the decanter. The nose and complexity on the palate offer up a lot, so, hopefully my next bottles show more flesh on the mid-palate and finish.
Red
2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
91 points
Nose: This was on the tighter side with red fruits, rhubarb, fresh picked berries, currants, roses, and some mineral tones. While this is on the tight side, there is a real attractiveness and elegance to the tones.

Taste: Medium bodied with medium/high acidity and noticeable tannins. The structure shows The feel leans more towards elegance with red fruits, fresh picked berries, currants, roses, and mineral tones.

Overall: This is a very young and elegant pinot. This needs time to allow itself to be as good as it can be. I would love to try this again in another 5 years.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
flawed
A real bummer. You could sense the real good fruit underneath, but this was sadly corked.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Nose: Absolutely gorgeous and stunning nose of dark red fruits, rhubarb, wild flowers, fresh picked berries, spice tones, and raspberries. There is a lot of depth and style going on with a layered effect to the tones already.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium/high acidity and silky, but noticeable tannins. The feel is polished and gorgeous with dark red fruits, rhubarb, wild flowers, spices, and raspberries.

Overall: This is a stunning young pinot. There is much room to grow, but also a ton here already. Given where it's at right now, I can only imagine where it will go from here.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2012 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
92 points
Nose: There is a lot of youth to the nose, and though it was on the tight side, there was real beauty to the tones of baking spices, red fruits, red cherries, floral tones, berries, and some chalky notes.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and chewy tannins. The structure is really showing itself in this nascent stage along with baking spices, red fruits, red cherries, berries, chalky notes, and some earth tones.

Overall: This isn't ready for primetime right now. There is a ton to like and this has all of it.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Flight 3 - Bearwallow Pinot Vertical (4 notes)

Red
2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
93 points
Nose: While there is a lot of youth to the nose, there is serious complexity with tart red cherries, spice tones, red florals, fresh picked berries, earth tones, red fruits, and some wild flowers too.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium/high acidity and youthful tannins. The structure certainly shows off the youth along with tart red cherries, spice tones, red florals, fresh picked berries, and some hints of earth creeping in on the back end.

Overall: This was a stunning young wine. I can't wait to see where this goes with age as there is a ton of complexity and depth that is there right now.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
91 points
Nose: There is a sappiness to the nose that was slightly unexpected with dark red fruits, spice tones, dark red cherries, berries, and some earth tones. While complex, the nose was on the tighter side, but there is excellent depth behind all of it.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and silky tannins. The structure was on the sneakier side as the tannins and acidity seemed to emerge later on. The feel was polished and silky with dark red fruits, spice tones, dark red cherries, and earth tones.

Overall: The sappiness on the nose didn't follow through on the palate. This needs about 5 years to fully rev up as there feels like a lot of baby fat that needs to be shed.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2011 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
flawed
While the 09 Alpine showed some actual fruit, this was absolutely, positively corked.
Red
2012 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
91 points
Nose: The nose is extremely tight. It takes some serious coaxing to reveal red fruits, red florals, fresh picked berries, currants, red cherries, and spice tones. There is excellent depth when it actually shows, but the tightness is very serious.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and good tannins. The structure is pretty imposing right now with red fruits, fresh picked berries, currants, red cherries, and spice tones poking through underneath.

Overall: This isn't even close to ready for primetime. The stuffing is really good, it will just take a good while to fully show itself.

Flight 4 - Horseshoe intermezo (1 note)

Red
2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
93 points
Nose: The nose is wide open with seamless tones of currants, berries, licorice, red fruits, and red cherries. There is excellent depth with a pungent red fruit core.

Taste: Full bodied with medium/high acidity and sneaky tannins. The structure is still quite youthful with currants, berries, licorice, red cherries, earth tones, and some hints of mineral tones.

Overall: While this is drinking very well right now, it feels like that this can give some more with age. This made me take notice and had a real style of its own.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Flight 5 - Family Farm Vertical (4 notes)

Red
2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
94 points
Nose: The nose is very attractive and deep with tart red fruits, red cherries, licorice, red florals, currants, red berries, chalky tones, and some minerals. The nose is insanely complex with a real nice cool intensity to it.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and silky tannins. The structure lets itself be known, but it melds with the gorgeous tones of tart red fruits, red cherries, licorice, red florals, chalky tones, and minerals.

Overall: This is a real stunner. It's still very young, but ever so gorgeous right now. This really roared from the outset and showed a lot of class and poise.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
93 points
Nose: The nose is poised and aromatic with licorice, red berries, black cherries, currants, spices, roses, and some red fruits. The fruit has a real nice tart quality along with excellent depth too.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with medium+ acidity and silky tannins. There is a plushness to the feel, but with real polish and poise to the tones of licorice, red berries, spices, roses, and red fruits.

Overall: This is a gorgeous Pinot. It's can certainly age, but I wouldn't really fault someone for opening a bottle up if they have multiples.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
flawed
Simply put, this was brett riddled. There was some fruit to it underneath and maybe it would've been written off as a funky pinot on its own. But, within the vertical of Family Farms it stood out as a flaw.
Red
2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County
92 points
Nose: There was real poise to the nose with rhubarb, currants, baking spices, chalk tones, some tobacco notes, earth tones, cherries, and some whole cluster stem notes. There is excellent balance to the nose and the whole cluster does show itself off.

Taste: Medium/full bodied with crisp medium+ acidity and silky tannins. The structure is a little deceiving as it sneaks up on you on the end. There is a lot of polish and class with rhubarb, currants, baking spices, earth tones, cherries, and some whole cluster stems.

Overall: This is most certainly a young wine. I would love to see where this goes when the whole cluster influences integrate more. There is a lot of polish and poise to the wine with a real good core of fruit.
3 people found this helpful Comment

Closing

A major thank you to Jay Carroll for making this happen. The class of Rhys most certainly showed through on the night. While we sadly had 3 flawed bottles, there were still plenty of highlights to go around. At the same time, I wouldn't even remotely close to say that any of these wines are close to maturity. There is a ton to like now in many of them and a good ways to go as well.

This tasting made me very happy that I have a good amount of Rhys in my collection. While I haven't been able to buy the past couple of go arounds, I will certainly be a buyer when I can again. There is a reason that Rhys has gotten a lot of accolades, and this is a very positive look into why they have gotten the press they have.