Rhys had a little pickup event in San Carlos yesterday at which they poured 4 wines that will be released this fall. I took down some very quick impressions, but if anyone else was there, I welcome your input.
A word about balance. I am guilty of describing many a wine with no obvious flaws as “balanced” but these Rhys wines remind me that there is a range between “non unbalanced” and “truly balanced and refined.” All these wines feature very long finishes that come from a combination of fruit extract, tannin structure, and impeccable I-just-can’t-believe-it sugar/acid balance. As the Wine Spectator might say, the finish sails on and on. So, while I didn’t contemplate every flavor adjective on the wheel in my fairly brief stopover, I am excited about these wines in terms of style, terroir, and craft.
2008 Alesia Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – the last Alesia wine. For 2008, several vineyard sources were blended to make a single Alesia release, which I guess would include grapes from Falstaff Road and Green Valley, but I didn’t confirm this. (What a lousy journalism teacher!) This wine presents bright red fruits including cranberry on the attack as well as some more fleshy apple-skin character through the mid-palate. 89-91
2008 Family Farm Pinot Noir – the whole cluster treatment was more transparent in this wine and the subsequent Alpine. Compared to the Sonoma Coast, the Family Farm had more earth and mineral tones alongside the red apple foundation. 90-92
2008 Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir – whoa. Whoa. This is on a whole other level, with black fruit and tea joining the party. Complex and structured, this is a wine to lay down. I have little context to evaluate this but I could taste it for a looong time. 91-95
2007 Horseshoe Vineyard Syrah – lovely cool climate aromas introduce this gem of a Syrah, with a pepper and smoke medley throughout the light black fruit palate. Only a few hints of blue fruit can be found, and I’d put this on the savory side of my preferred Syrah spectrum, but the natural complexity of the fruit unfolds throughout the impossibly long finish. This wine has a great sense of lift; to me, it isn’t restrained just to avoid being heavy or big, the restraint allows for some transparency and it works because it doesn’t shorten the wine. Will this shut down? It is drinking so well now. 92-95.
Also kudos to Rhys for absorbing 10 styrofoam case shippers from my garage. Good riddance!