TN: 2004 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County)

  • 2004 Rhys Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, San Mateo County (2/26/2010)
    Earthy funk strong plus some brett though not as much as I remember with my last go around. The palate is a bit rough early but really evens out and shows smoothly concentrated fruit. Richly balanced later on but the brett still lingers on the nose. There is still a nice wine underneath the issue but it comes with a dice roll.

Posted from CellarTracker

I’d be a bit less generous with the wording of ‘some’ brett - even for a guy who loves brett in his wine (not typically Pinot, however), this was just a brett bomb - covering up the fruit for more of the evening. Definitely the newer vintages are far superior.

Didn’t seem THAT strong later on to me but whatever it is this bottle has a lot. My last go around was far worse than that one.

Did it just come out in the form of horse manure?

Good note by Cris. I’ve tasted this wine and have read a number of notes on it.

This wine will not be remembered as one of Kevin’s finest. It is a disappointment along the lines of Michael Cimino’s movie “Heaven’s Gate” - an ambitious disappointment.

A couple of the Rhys Alesia wines should not have been released in 2004. Subsequent vintages are much better

Subsequent vintages have been “ambitious successes”!

As you probably know, they will gladly replace those bad bottles.

Indeed they are wonderful with bad bottles … I like the Family Farm. Had my first bottle on Christmas. Man, it was drinking well. I had just a bit of brett in it. Delicious, complex, with great velvety texture.

The bottle I opened in February '09 was a bit rough and similar to a lot of the TN’s I’ve read. I have one left and I wonder if it’s worth holding any longer because if it’s another bad bottle, it’s just taking up precious space. Maybe I’ll put it in the queue and give it a go soon.

Chris - open it.

Opened one of these tonight. Couldn’t get past the funk, although I agree that it had glimmers of hope underneath. Couldn’t get through a glass.

As others have said, they are willing to replace these . . . .

If they’re willing to allow you to try them first and then return them, go for it . . . but if not, the choice appears to be fairly straightforward IMHO . . .


I opened mine earlier tonight, as Russ recommended. Yuck. Left it open all evening and it never improved. No problem though. Law of average, I guess.

I have one other bottle left. I’m normally not a returner, but I have little interest in trying another.

As has been mentioned, we will replace any bottle that any of our customers are unhappy with. Feel free to PM me or email us at the winery (info at rhysvineyards dot com) with any issues. We will replace like with like.

We always appreciate customer feedback on the wines.

Jeff, this is in no way a criticism of your otherwise exemplary customer service… but have you considered taking the initiative to tell your customers about the obvious problem with this release rather than letting everyone figure it out for themselves? Of course, the standing offer to accept returns is appreciated but based on chatter on the boards and CT notes, it seems that the level of brett in this particular wine is the rule, not the exception, which, IMO, warrants taking proactive rather than reactive measures this time. It is apparent that this wine is not up to many customers’ expectations so I assume that it does not live up to Rhys’ standards either. I’m a longtime loyal customer and remain so, so please don’t take this as a complaint.

To wit, here’s what Peay did when they realized that their '07 Pomarium was overwhelmed with brett and not up their standards:

"Over the past week it has come to our attention that the 2007 Peay Vineyards Pomarium Estate Pinot noir is affected by the yeast Brettanomyces (commonly referred to as brett.) We have included a description of this yeast and its impact on wine at the bottom of this email.

Currently the level of brett presence in the wine is just at threshold and thus some people who are looking for it – like us – can detect it though others may not. We were not sure ourselves when we tasted it a few weeks ago and the first thing that leapt to our minds were some of our favorite Vosne Romanée (brett is commonly found in red Burgundy and in some cases is almost a house style). Brett can add complexity to a wine as, at low levels, it offers an aged prosciutto or cured meat character. Our concern, however, is that the flavor will become stronger and overtake the wine progressing from the current desirable aroma to an undesirable taste of barnyard, glue or saddle sweat.

Brettanomyces is a commonly occurring yeast found in almost every vineyard and winery though most often in population levels below threshold levels. At Peay we are very careful in our winemaking to keep a clean and sanitary environment which is essential since we strive to provide natural wines that are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Before bottling we always send out samples to our lab to test for the presence of Brettanomyces. The results for the 2007 Pomarium came back negative (none apparent) and we proceeded to bottle the wine unfiltered and unfined as usual. Apparently a few tainted barrels were not properly sampled and consequently were mixed into the entire lot of 07 Pomarium and went undetected until very recently. We have identified how the sampling problem occurred and have adjusted our protocols to be sure it does not occur again.

We would like to offer anyone who has purchased this wine a 100% refund on the cost of the wine including shipping costs and taxes, if any. We want to be sure you experience the essence of our vineyard and the resulting wine as intended. You are also invited to open a bottle now to see how you like it. You may find that you enjoy a hint of it. You may find, however, that it is not to your liking. We will still refund you for that bottle, of course. We will call you within the next week to answer any questions you may have and will refund you over the next two weeks.

If you have purchased more than 3 bottles of the Pomarium, when we contact you we would like to arrange for the wine to be picked up from you by UPS. We will pay for shipping, of course.

We apologize for this unfortunate occurrence. It is our goal to make expressive, superior, terroir-driven wine and will work even harder to be sure that this does not occur again."