TN: Rhys 2006 Alpine Hillside

A vastly different and much more transparent showing of this wine than when I last had it shortly after release – back then, all the Alpines were big and ripe within the context of the Rhys lineup and the primary fruit made it difficult to get a read on them. A lot of that density and up-front sweetness has since moderated itself and the result is soooo compelling. Before, the fruit might have made this easy to peg as New World but now if you had poured this to me blind I would have taken it for a DRC Echezeaux. I don’t mean that in the sense of “DRC is awesome and this is awesome too” – this really brings to mind several vintages of the Ech I’ve had over the last year or so. The stalky signature of whole-cluster fermentation plays a big role in that and it’s hard to come by a better example of a wine to pour to anyone wondering what that does to a pinot. That cuts both ways, though – personally, I love it, but it does give the wine a serious spine as well as a literally stalky flavor that may make this challenging to drink for people who haven’t acquired the taste. So I wouldn’t be surprised if some people considered this in an awkward state – but a wine in an awkward state doesn’t vaporize as fast as this bottle did. I’m not someone who gets worked up over closed wines for their “potential” – the potential here is indeed immense but when it brims with as many hints of what it can be as this does, you’re not just talking about an intellectual prediction exercise but an intensely rewarding bottle to open and drink right here, right now.

Couldn’t have said it better…


Damn - that right there is a tasting note!

Great thoughts, thanks much

Just got to give this another go Saturday. A terrific wine by any measure that has it’s best days ahead of it for my palate. The stemmy spice is in terrific balance with the fruit though not seamless yet to me.

this was the first Rhys i’ve had the pleasure of tasting (same bottle as Cris on saturday). It was my WOTD amongst 10-15 pinots … i agree this is a fantastic effort.

is this the one we had with Josh in Los Altos?

Hmmmm…that was a while ago. I think he brought the Swan Terrace which is one block of the Alpine. A small step up.

I agree – this is an excellent tasting note. It made me stop and think about why I like this wine and producer so much.

Compelling TN Keith, thanks. So, open now or later?


Great note, Keith. Thansk for the check in.

Glad you enjoyed this Keith.
I think your point about aging our Alpine wines is very important. They start off with so much primary fruit and structure that it can be difficult to see the complexity and elegance underneath. With some time in bottle, the fruit settles down and the site’s complex, seductive side is more apparent. While we don’t have any 10 year old examples, I expect this trajectory to continue with an aging curve similar to Burgundy.
Relative to the Swan Terrace or Alpine Vineyard bottlings, the Alpine Hillside shows more intensity, length and pronounced iron-earth complexity (which might have contributed to your Echezeaux impression).

Thanks for the compelling note Keith!! I will plan to continue to be patient for a few more years.

Awesome note, Keith. This is terrific juice.

Keith - perhaps instead of a new release dinner, we do a Rhys retrospective. The wines do provide more pleasure after a bit of time, and we have back vintages.

Does anyone know when Rhys ships?

Mike, I got my Rhys on the east coast 1.5 weeks ago… from the fall and odds/ends offerings you mean?

Alan, I actually have three orders (beginning in May of this year) that have not yet been shipped.

Kevin may be holding back the CA orders until last due to our more temperate climate.

I had this on Saturday with Cris and Brian and it was indeed wonderful while still showing promise for the future.

Excellent note Keith. Good work. [welldone.gif]

We are still holding the CA orders for Zip codes south of the Bay Area. We are waiting for cooler temps but let us know if you would like yours shipped.

Thanks Kevin, I’m happy to go with your schedule!