TN: 2013 Rhys - Pinot Noir "Swan Terrace" (USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains)

2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (7/9/2021)
– decanted 30 min. before initial taste –
– tasted non-blind over 2.5 hours –

NOSE: baked red fruits; a bit zesty, with some baking spices; not complex.

BODY: medium-light bodied; garnet-violet color of medium-light depth.

TASTE: thin; no structure; light-to-medium-light concentration of fruit; cork was spongy and streaked to the top; capsule was stuck; signs of light seepage (mind you, this bottle has been stored perfectly since receipt directly from the winery); weak; very disappointing; flawed?; no drive; no layers; 12.2% alc. not noticeable; probably the worst Rhys P.N. I’ve had, but for ones with brett or TCA. I’m really hoping this was not a representative bottle. Total head-scratcher.

50, 5, 11, 11, 4 = (81 pts.)

  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (10/14/2020)
    I have had five or six bottles of Swan Terrace in the past. Until this bottle I never “got” it. Tonight I was immediately struck by the elegance, the aromatic complexity and the finishing persistence. Tonight there was an undercurrent of rich, living earth. Tonight it felt like a grape expressing a place. Tonight I didn’t drink Pinot Noir, I drank Swan Terrace.

That said, I have struggled with Swan Terrace. I gave up buying it because it confounded me. This was the only bottle where it turned out to be as magical as I had heard.

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With 4 different vintages, I have yet to open a Swan Terrace. This weekend I will hunt for my 2010.

My 2015 Alpine that I opened this evening smells like a horse barn. I grabbed another wine.

Have not tried a 2013. Hoping you just had a bad bottle, as it sounds like it.
Have really enjoyed the 2006, 2009 and 2010. The 2010 was the best of the group so far. Many other vintages I haven’t opened. From what I’ve had, it seems like it needs at least 10 years to shine.
My notes from the 2010- Beautiful aroma with black cherry, plum, spices, orange peel, black tea. Layers of flavor showing red and black fruits, spice, black tea, plum, herbs. Medium body. Wonderful balance. Long finish with silky smooth tannins. Was worth the wait. No worries about holding my last 2 bottles a few more years. Maybe one of the best Rhys wines I’ve had.


Hmm. Haven’t had the 2013 but I loved the 2010 I drank two years ago so much I actually bought more from Benchmark - and lord knows Rhys sells me plenty of their wines. I drank the 2007 at age 7 and my note just says “terrific.” An 09 opened a few weeks ago was very fragrant, still showing some structure but with plenty of fruit for more aging.

The 2010 ST may be the best Rhys red I’ve ever had. Here’s what I wrote last December:

The best bottle of Rhys red I’ve ever had—and I’ve had dozens. In fact, I’m on record as being disappointed with the aging curve of many Rhys Pinots. But not this one. This is superb. It’s uber-expressive and silk-textured with layers upon layers of spicy red and dark fruits. This is very deep, has a ton going on, and is totally open for business. As enjoyable of a bottle of wine that I’ve had in a while. Probably at peak but in no danger of declining. May even continue on a gentle upward trajectory. (94)

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The only other ST I’ve had was the ‘08, about a year and a half ago, single blind. I liked it a lot.

I have to check which vintages I have and pop one, I’ve always liked this wine, but it does have a lot of stems. Wonder if the wine was shut down. Also not happy to that David opened a bretty 2015 Alpine.

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Glad to see this as I only have 2007 and 2008 in the cellar. Because of all the ballyhoo about Rhys being built for the long haul, I’ve been holding onto to these special selection wines much longer (though I popped a 2006 Alpine Hillside around 2013 and it was quite nice!).

Sipping on the 2010 now. Can’t see it getting any better than it is now, and it is delicious.


I stopped buying a couple of years ago as I was getting priced out of my comfort zone.
Have 09,10 and 13 in the cellar.
This thread is encouraging me to check in on one.
Thinking the 2009.