Years ago Kevin Harvey caught my attention on the wine discussion forums as someone who had similar tastes in wine as me, and as someone passionate about Burgundy and the Santa Cruz Mountains. A few years later he announced he had started his own winery and was about to release the first wines. It turns out he really had the resources to put behind his passion, his pursuit of excellence. They seeked out some great sites to plant, with distinctive soils and much experimentation. With a great team and several vintages under their belt, Rhys is perhaps the best Pinot Noir producer in California. (Their Chardonnays and Syrahs are nothing to sneeze at, either.)
Last year I was invited on a vineyard tour. Ken Zinns did a great write-up: http://www.grape-nutz.com/kenz/09_June27.html http://bartonorchard.blogspot.com/2009/07/rhys-vineyards-tour-62709.html
This year they finished their cave at the Skyline Vineyard in time for harvest. Everything is in there, from winemaking to storage, offices to visitation. Check out Richard's entry, which includes a video tour: http://www.rjonwine.com/california-wine/tour-of-rhys-vineyardss-new-cave-with-kevin-harvey/
Met up with some friends and saw many other familiar faces. Chatted, took notes, took pics and went on a tour with winemaker Jeff Brinkman. You can see me leaving, off to the Stefania Fall Pick-up, at the start of Richard's video.
Alesia is their second label, for non-estate wines. Bearwallow Vineyard is a new acquisition in the Anderson Valley. On one side is the noted Kiser Vineyard, on the other side is the source for Harrington's Anderson Valley Pinot.
Alesia '08 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) Nose - fresh, delicate spice, rustic black plum and raspberry, lemon blossom. Moderate fruit with a spicy structure, zesty plum, fairly firm. Drink '13-'20. 91 pts
Rhys '08 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard (Anderson Valley) Nose - delicate, lovely, touch of blue fruit, shy. Grippy and dusty tannin. Moderate, but very expressive fruit, good zest, needs time to develop. Drink '15-'25. 92 pts
Rhys '08 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard (Santa Cruz Mountains) Nose - deep fruit, rustic minerality, really nice, delicately intense and floral. Firm dark rustic purple fruit, good minerality, grippy tannins, smoky spice. Drink '14-'24. 93+ pts
Rhys '08 Syrah Skyline Vineyard (Santa Cruz Mountains) Nose - intense, deep and expressive, lovely dark fruit and dark graphite-y mineral, delicate spice, plum pie and a touch of boysenberry. Dusty tannin, smoky spice, grippy, nice restrained fruit, nutmeg and the slightest hint of clove. Drink '16-'24. 94 pts