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)
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…