Caught a little snow in the Santa Cruz Mountains this morning, which made for a scenic visit up to Rhys. Good thing I brought the camera. Nice to see and catch up with a good selection of my wine friends, while tasting through some upcoming releases. Glad my friends have such good taste...
The first wine represents a shift for Rhys. As their estate vines began coming into full production, they phased out their second label, Alesia, for purchased fruit. Replacing Alesia will be two appellation level wines, a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir. Doing this allows them to select only the best barrels for their single vineyard wines, while at the same time having some more affordable and more ready to drink wines. Some people call these "cellar defenders", because they provide fodder to the temptation to open wines that aren't yet at their best. Open these, age those.
Rhys '09 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Nose - warm nutmeg-y spices and a lovely rich lemon meringue. Rich and vibrant, lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon and subtle oak spices, good acidity. Very nice! Ready to drink. 92+ pts
Rhys '09 Pinot Noir Family Farm (San Mateo County) Nose - incense/lavender/green wood, restrained dark purple fruit, pomegranate. Very floral with a delicate astringency. Lavender, purple basil, pomegranate, green wood and smoke, underlying hints of jujube and boysenberry, with cinnamon and lemon zest on the finish. Drink '14-'26. 94 pts
Rhys '09 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard (Anderson Valley) Nose - deep, dark and savory, allspice and lemon verbena, hints of sassafras and boysenberry. Nutmeg/clove, zest, boysenberry, chalky mineral, hints of chamomile, lemon verbena and lavender soap. Drink '13-'18 93 pts
Rhys '08 Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard (SCM) Nose - soft and warm youthful berry fruit, woodsy and floral, incense. Soft tannin, black currant and boysenberry, soft touch of zest, with nutmeg and orange. Pert. Drink '11-'17. 91+ pts