2012 Rhys "Skyline" PN - (the concern continues)

Eric Lundblad and Al Osterheld (A couple of great guys who I respect as people and tasters) recently made claims that the later Rhys Pinots were more “user friendly” and didn’t require as much aging.

I decided to try my all time favorite young Rhys Pinot to see if that opinion held water.

In Feb 2014 I tasted a slew of 2012 Rhys Wines.
They were just about to be bottled.

Here’s my review of my favorite Pinot.(And it was widely loved by the rest of the tasters present)
2012 Rhys “Skyline” PN
Dark purple/red color.
Otherworldly nose of caramel and various florals.
Beautifully balanced, exotic spices galore. Not as tannic.
IMO, the best Rhys wine to date!
(Unfortunately, KH said I could only get a couple of cases)
[97 pts]

This wine did not appear to have tremendous structure. (but it did have fine extract)
A lot of my Rhys pre-release tastings have been wines that were recently bottled or about to be bottled.
A characteristic of these wines are they are typically pretty open and accessible at this point in their lives.
Then after several months they tighten up considerably very much like a fine Red Burg.
Again, IMO, Rhys Pinots appear to mimic Red Burgs in the way they age.

So I tried the same wine the other night.
I slow oxed it for 4 hrs and decanted it for another 2 hours.
Here’s my note:
2012 Rhys “Skyline” PN
Light/medium crimson red with very slight browning at the edge.
Great nose of cinnamon red hots, face powder and violets.
Rich, structured, powerful, fleshy black fruits with a VERY long, slightly tannic finish of iron, minerals and anise.
A flat out, great CA Pinot with a lot of dry extract.
It was drinkable now, but is YEARS away from it’s final destination.
This wine will likely outlive me.
One would be truly foolish to consume this wine before 2025-2030 (and likely longer).
PLEASE don’t commit infanticide on this monumental wine!
For now: [96 pts] with a couple more points likely to be added with the proper aging.

Perhaps the later Rhys Pinots are less hard and lean than their predecessors.
But these wines still possess a ton of extract that require longer than normal aging to bring them to their ultimate state of perfection.

So, regrettably, I stand by my opinion that these Mountain Pinots will not be at their peaks anytime soon.
Can you drink them?
But you will be robbing yourself of the pleasure these wines will provide given suitable aging.

I guess I’ll stand pat with the ones I’ve collected over the years, but will seriously contemplate whether it’s wise for me to buy anymore…


Don’t we want these wines to be able to age? I know in your case you want something more accessible early on, but in general it’s a good thing to have the body and components to age


I’m just sayin’ these wines are not for anyone near 70 if you like aged wines at their peak…


I fail to see how ageability is a concern - I’d rather like ALL wines to have this characteristic. [cheers.gif]

“Ageability” is only a concern for those getting on in years.
The fact that Rhys Pinots age slowly (and hopefully improve) is overall a good thing.
Not panning the quality.
But slow aging wines don’t work for me in my situation…


Paul, it looks like the wine has gone downhill since your first tasting?

Not really.
It has just tightened up a bit.
I have no doubt that this will become one of the greatest CA Pinots ever.
It just needs 5-15 more years… [shrug.gif]


I think Skyline takes a fair bit longer to come around. Partly for that reason and partly because I have many fewer bottles, I haven’t opened a Skyline from recent vintages. So, my comments were based on the regular bottlings of Alpine, Horseshoe Ranch, Family Farm (also, not the Hillside or Swan Terrace that I’d expect to take longer to develop). While these wines aren’t peaking, they are much more approachable than, say, the 2006 or 2007 were at a similar age. I’m drinking a glass of the 2012 Horseshoe, and it’s quite tasty and, while it’s showing a little stem inclusion, there is no need to hold it to 2025-2030, or longer, before starting to drink it.


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I have found Da Home, Family Farm, and Bearwallow to age faster than the “Mountain” Pinots.

The Regular Alpine takes up the “in between” aging position.

Finally, Horseshoe, Skyline, Swan and the Alpine Hillside are aging at a Glacial pace.
I haven’t consumed a lot of these lately.
Are there any specific wines from this last group you deem at (or even close to) their peak?


Pop a 2012 Horseshoe, it’s developing nicely (and, note that glaciers aren’t what they used to be). It’s not at peak and still pretty fruit driven, but easy to drink in a way that the earlier vintages were not at the same age. The Alpine is similar. As mentioned, I haven’t opened Skyline, Swan Terrace, or Hillside bottlings from recent vintages.


Only have two of the 2012 Horseshoe.
Since you said it is still primary, I’ll hold off drinking this pup.
But I think the 2009 version is going on deck…


If you only have two, I’d definitely hold off.


Tried this wine a year ago, a 24-48 hr air exposure was recommended. We tried it after having been just popped in the morning and the same night after 200 miles on the road.
I more or less agree with Paul’s assessment, with the same caveat that it is a truly great wine esp after lots of air. I’ll try to source a 2008 (not 2007 :wink: ) to see what an older bottle is like.
I might also mention that visiting Rhys is something I’d love to do every year after having done it the last two years.