Rhys Futures

Just curious as to why this has not been posted here? Past offers have been posted almost immediately. I am a long time buyer and will continue to be. Again, just curious FWIW



Perhaps Kevin could provide some detail about the character of the new Mt. Pajaro vineyard…

Grabbed the 500ml Chardonnay sampler. Love the 500ml bottles.

Haven’t you been reading other threads? Apparently Rhys is not Grand Cru Burgundy, and thus has to be dissed by other folks on the board as another over hyped Cali Pinot. Fwiw I got the 500ml samplers of pinots and Chardonnay. With age I continue to find these interesting and unique expressions of site and grape that are well worth the money. Drank last week a 2009 Alpine Pinot that showed bright fruit and lovely intensity with crisp acidity that shows no sign of fading anytime soon. But hey, some offers of Ligier-Belair are roughly $250 for a village Vosne Romanee 2016. I suppose someone is buying those up and thinking they are worth the tariff. Your call,…

Mark, help me understand what you mean? Did you expect that someone would bring a new topic about the release? If so, you did that, which is great. If not what you meant, not sure how to read your post.

As we have posted about in the past, many releases now simply get assimilated to the groove of things. I’m as pumped about Rhys as I was 5 years ago and others share my view, some don’t. But many producers don’t see ‘X is out’ posts anymore, which to me is how things are evolving here on this board IMO.

The futures offer probably only appeals to a small portion of the Rhys buyers, since it’s only case purchases and the wines are fairly expensive.

I just buy at the regular offerings.

Yes, I am excited to talk about Mt Pajaro. As some context about what’s on my mind, we are wrapping up our harvest (except for Halloween Syrah at Horseshoe and Bearwallow) this weekend. 2018 is going to be a really, really special vintage!
Back to Mt Pajaro, this vineyard is located in the southern end of the Santa Cruz Appellation on a rocky hillside with a shallow (16-20") clay topsoil. The geology is a melange of shales and sandstone as this is a very active area of the San Andreas fault. We planted the vineyard entirely in “high density” both for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (and a little Chenin Blanc and Riesling). The spacing varies from 2.5x3.5’ to 3x3.5’ depending on rootstock. We used a selection of the best cuttings that we have isolated in our other vineyards.
Right now, it is hard to describe MPs exact character for a variety of reasons. First, we did not bottle the debut vintage and instead the MP wines made up the base for our 2016 Alesia Santa Cruz Mtn bottlings. And we have not yet bottled the 2017s (that will happen in the Spring). But so far here is what we have seen - The MP Pinot is really excelling at a young age and seems to be comparable quality (though different character) to Alpine and Horseshoe right off the bat. The 2017 is very intense and complex with a red fruited character that reminds me of raspberry, plenty of mineral highlights and a unique cocoa powder aromatic element. The Chardonnay is more delicate and gentle and quite different than Horseshoe or Alpine. We are just starting to be able to evaluate it as it clears in tank!
Also some of these characteristics do seem to change as the vines age. We saw quite a change in Alpine and Horseshoe Pinot. Both started as more black fruited when the vines were young and have now moved strongly in the red fruited direction.

Thank you, Kevin!

Uh oh 2018 is another vintage of the century

Yeah, wait a year and a half and NO discounts!

C’mon guys, where’s the “All in!”?? pileon

It might very well be. Both August and September have been beautiful, with no real heat spikes, relatively cool temps (actually a lot of below average days). Looking like a long, nearly perfect, slow ripening vintage.

Any idea what the character of this vintage is?

I’m almost always a Rhys buyer, but riper vintages don’t really move me as even “classical” Rhys vintages tend toward heavier, darker, more brooding wines than I typically prefer. As I look toward the 2017 vintage, I suspect Oregon wines will comprise most of my domestic purchases. That said, I really couldn’t begin to tell you what to expect in terms of vintage character from the Santa Cruz mountains or that relevant sliver from Sonoma.

In short, I do not like like passing on a Rhys offer and I love smaller format bottles in earlier drinking vintages that don’t tip into sur-maturité, but I’d love a tiny bit of insight as to what to expect!

Fwiw, I love chenin at all sweetness levels, and and have had many tasty Cali chenins, all tending toward the vin de soif end of the spectrum in terms of quality and price. But much as I love Chidaine’s wine from both sides of the river, I’m not digging them quite so much after recent price hikes and have had to adjust my purchasing accordingly. If the Rhys chenins come in at a premium price point - equivalent to or higher than the best Loire examples - that’s an easy pass for this chenin lover.

Normally this would be an easier question but given the weather, 2017 varies more from vineyard to vineyard than other recent vintages. This variation is due to an intense heat spike around Sept 2. By this date, we had completed the Pinot harvest in some vineyards while in other vineyards we have fruit picked both before and after the spike. The character of fruit picked before the spike is more consistent with the recent pattern of warm, earlier vintages (2013-2016) while the fruit picked after the spike more closely resembles 2010. To further complicate the question, we will be choosing the best barrels, which could comprise fruit from either side of the spike, for each vineyard to make the vineyard designated bottling. Counter-intuitively, the post heat spike fruit is more elegant and less concentrated than the fruit picked earlier. For burg lovers, I think 2009 Red Burgundy (a vintage I severely under-estimated) might be somewhat analogous. I wish I could give you a simpler answer!

Interesting. Wonder why?

This is mostly due to misconceptions. Cool weather actually gives grapes longer to develop flavor and color. It can often lead to darker character. Warmer weather speeds development without as much time for this accumulation. Warmer summer temperatures often lead to more red fruit character in Pinot Noir.

Kevin, thank you for that intriguing report, and your observations on the more elegant/less concentrated, later-picked Pinot sites is fascinating. Is the pH affected in any significant way by the longer hang? ABV? Are you more excited for the pinots or chards?

I think we buyers often tend to assess futures in an oversimplified way, which is why I have fewer 2009 red burgs than I now wish I’d purchased. I should add - given your insights here - that I recall pick date figuring heavily in those '09 burg decisions and I was certainly biased towards earlier in hopes of more balance/elegance.

So I was inclined to ask which sites where picked pre and post heat spike, but now I think that would lead to a too reductive, oversimplified impression on my part. I do hope I’ll qualify for any hillside designate you may offer as these could be wonderfully unique iterations of the terroir and yours and Jeff’s winemaking style.

Fwiw, I think the following are all the wines being offered as futures:

2017 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir
2017 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir

2017 Rhys Chardonnay Sampler Pack (3 each of Alpine, Bearwallow, Horseshoe and Mt. Pajaro Vineyard)
2017 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Chardonnay

Your question on chemistry of the wines also has a seemingly counter-intuitive answer. In 2017 our acidities are fairly normal but alcohols are lower than normal particularly for the fruit picked after the heat spike. The heat spike of September 2 caused a situation that we have not seen before. After the spike, the vines completely shut down and essentially went into a coma. We did not see sugar progression for 10-14 days and then the vines finally finished ripening the fruit. The post spike wines are lower in alcohol, normal in acidity with more supple tannins and elegant concentration. Both Alpine and Bearwallow vineyard had fruit picked before and after the spike. We will make our final barrel selection for the vineyard designates this Fall. We do anticipate making Hillside bottlings at this time.
As far as Pinot or Chardonnay, I think the vintage left a more pronounced stamp on the Pinot Noir (at least after the spike) while the Chardonnays are more typical of recent vintages.

Passing along an answer to an emailed question:

Rhys plans to ship the sampler packs in March or October. The first 2017 release will be in November.

To further clarify, those dates are 2019. This November we will offer the regular release of 2016s.

But will we actually get the sampler packs of 2016 before the release. I have to admit that the track record for meeting that goal has not been good. Yeah, we may get them, but only a few days prior to the release, and that’s no way to give a sample taste a fair shake.