TN: 2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard

  • 2008 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (4/19/2011)
    This is the most impressive Chard from Rhys yet, for me. Leads with a pungent minerality and complex citrus & trop flavors on perfect bones. This is a thrill! Seems to make the best of CA ripeness without over the top alc or wood. Perfectly balanced. I’ll wait 3yrs, hopefully to try btl # 2. Happy to have 2 more. (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

this wine deserves a thread! I’ve been stunned–over and over–by the quality of the Rhys Chardonnay, though with such small quantities, one probably shouldn’t bang the drum.

You guys are killing me with these notes! If you had only one bottle what would you do?

If you haven’t tried any, it’s worth the experiment to pop now. Objectively though, 3-4 years after release would show better.

Craig - nice note. Thanks!

That’s funny, Joe. I have been able to order the Chardonnay for several vintages now, but I have never even tried one (I haven’t even had any shipped from my off-site in CA because I don’t want to be tempted). Most of the notes suggest that they need to be held, so I have just been pretending they aren’t there.


I have usually ordered one of their chards to go with three pinots as, iirc, they require a minimum order of four. Hwever, the last time I ordered more chards than usual. Good stuff!

I finally pulled the cork on a 2004 recently. It was beautiful. Haven’t tried anything more recent yet.

I had three so opening one early was an easy decison and no regrets. If I only had 1 or 2 I’d wait a couple more years to open the first btl. I think next year or maybe even later this year Rhys will have more chardonnay cuvees.

That’s good plan Brad. I have only been offered one the last two years, so alone they sit waiting for just the right time.

Great note Craig. With luck I’ll start getting an allocation of these in the next year or two. Is this the first vintage you’ve bought, or do you have older ones in your cellar?

while the pinots really need to be forgotten about for some time, the chards are still really awesome shortly after release. as more chard becomes available, i won’t feel so bad about popping a few of those corks on the early side.


What food did you have with it? Translated: “What fantastic meal did Nita cook to go with the wine?”

Dave I have 04, 06 and 07 too. I don’t think he had enough 05 to release. This 08 stood out for me vs the others I own but they’re all very good.

Tuna casserole… No actually I opened for Dave Mc Mahon,Siggy, Lonny, Chris, Jimmy and Leo before a pizza night at Daves last Monday night to see what others thought of it too.

Haven’t been offered any yet. Hopefully sometime soon. flirtysmile

With the additional Chardonnay at Horseshoe becoming productive, we will have much more Chardonnay in 2009 as our total bearing acreage increased from 1.5 to 5.5 acres. This means that we will offer a Chardonnay on every release. Also the allocation will go deeper into the list and possibly increase for longer term customers.

A pallet annually is all I need–no reason to increase my allocation.



Can you contrast the two vineyards? I see a brief explanation of how the reds differ on the Rhys webpage but not the whites.

Thanks in advance,

The wines are made in identical style, meaning minimal oak (~25%), similar ripeness, whole cluster pressed and the same winemaking (ie very little) so I think people will see a stylistic similarity. Also, the vineyards have similar vines and share the same climate, so this comparison is primarily about soil-driven differences and when tasted side by side the wines show some marked differences. The Alpine Chard has more powerful depth and length while the Horseshoe shows more elegant tender fruit and the slatey mineral perfume that all wines from this site seem to exhibit. Overall, I think people that like our Alpine Chard will also enjoy the Horseshoe and hopefully the comparison will be fun.