2019 Rhys Vineyards Critic’s Notes

This Alesia offering introduces the first wines from the 2019 vintage, a worthy successor to the fabulous 2019 vintage at Rhys. The wines from 2019 show fantastic depth and concentration similar to their 2019 counterparts, but with a slightly more open character. They will be classic Alesia wines will drink well right away and will continue to improve with age. Given that we craft the Alesia wines from the same estate vineyards as the Rhys vineyard designated wines, they share the same purity, complexity and elegance. To make this more apparent we have brought our Alesia wines under the Rhys label starting with 2019 vintage.

2019 Alesia Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (July 2021) The 2019 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Alesia comes from a blend of sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It has a wonderfully textured, medium-bodied, concentrated style carrying ample melon, pineapple, flower, and honeysuckle aromas and flavors. I’d be thrilled to drink a bottle any time over the coming 3-5 years. 92.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) Now that the Alesia bottlings from Rhys Vineyards are all made from the younger vine production on their estate vineyards, these wines have moved up a level in overall quality. The 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains chardonnay comes in at a svelte 12.4 percent octane in this vintage and offers up a lovely young nose of pear, green apple, lemon, salty soil tones, dried flowers, citrus peel and a hint of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and tightly-knit out of the blocks, with a good core, superb mineral drive and focus, zesty acids and a long, nascently complex and very promising finish. This could do with a year or two in the cellar to blossom properly and will be an excellent bottle in due course. 2023-2040. 92.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Chardonnay Alesia (Santa Cruz Mountains) is gorgeous. Bright, floral and translucent, the 2019 is impeccably polished from start to finish. Lemon peel, white flowers and crushed rocks give this appellation level Chardonnay tons of class. It is one of the overachievers in this range. 91.

2019 Alesia Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Anderson Valley bottling of pinot noir from Alesia is gorgeous and one of the best wines I have yet tasted sold under the Alesia label from Rhys Vineyards. The bouquet is pure, youthful and beautifully precise, offering up scents of black cherries, pomegranate, a hint of beetroot, gamebird, woodsmoke, a superb base of soil tones, fresh herbs, espresso and a nice touch of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused, tangy and displays outstanding mid-palate depth, with a nice sense of imminent sappiness, lovely soil undertow, ripe, suave tannins and a long, vibrant and nascently complex finish. A very serious bottle of pinot in the making! 2028-2060. 93.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Alesia comes from the Anderson Valley sites and can be thought of as an introduction to the style and quality of this estate. Medium ruby-hued, it has medium-bodied aromas and flavors of mulled cherries, roasted herbs, loamy soil, and baking spices. These all carry to a medium-bodied Pinot Noir that has plenty of structure, good balance, and outstanding length. 91.

Rhys

2019 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Chenin Blanc

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro Vineyard is light, airy and gracious. Orchard fruit, white flowers, mint, white pepper and crushed rocks lend brilliance to this finely sculpted, chiseled white. For readers who enjoy Chenin, Rhys has another three on the way. 93.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) One of the finest expressions of this variety in California, the light gold-hued 2019 Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro Vineyard offers lots of tart pineapple and citrus fruits, notes of savory herbs and loamy earth, medium body, bright acidity, and a clean finish. This beautiful Chenin Blanc will drink nicely for at least 7-8 years. 92.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 vintage of Mount Pajaro Chenin Blanc from Jeff Brinkman and the rest of the team at Rhys is quite low octane this year, tipping the scales at 12.25 percent alcohol. The wine is beautifully defined by its soil elements on the nose, wafting from the glass in a mix of quince, tart pear, salty minerality, white lilies, lemon peel, hints of the beeswax to come and just a touch of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is vibrant, fullish and beautifully transparent, with a fine core, excellent girdle of acidity, impeccable balance and a long, nascently complex and zesty finish. I love the structural tension of this wine on the backend, which augurs extremely well for its evolution in bottle. This is quite drinkable out of the blocks, but I would opt for tucking it away in the cellar for a few years and really let it blossom. 2024-2045. 93+.

2019 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Chardonnay

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard is the most open of the vineyard designate Chardonnays, but it, too, will benefit from a few years in bottle. Lemon confit, chamomile, pear and white flowers linger. This mid-weight, translucent Chardonnay has quite a bit to offer in an immediate style that is all charm. 94.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) A lighter, fresher style of Chardonnay from this site, the 2019 Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard has pretty white peach, pineapple, and citrus fruits as well as subtle white flower, mint, and honeysuckle nuances. Medium-bodied, fresh, and lively, it’s surprisingly mid-weight and fleeting, although certainly outstanding. Drink it over the coming 3-5 years.91.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93)The 2019 Rhys Vineyards’ Bearwallow chardonnay is beautifully expressive aromatically right out of the blocks, jumping from the glass in a blend of apple, nectarine, salty soil tones, acacia blossoms, fresh almond and a deft touch of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core, excellent mineral undertow, zesty acids and a long, beautifully balanced finish. The wine is a little more reserved on the palate than the nose, so I would give it a year or two in the cellar to let both facets completely blossom. I love the backend mineral drive here. 2023-2035+. 93.

2019 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Chardonnay

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Chardonnay Mt. Pajaro Vineyard is magical. Slate, crushed rocks, white pepper and a very light touch of reduction give the 2019 its utterly captivating bouquet. Bright and vibrant, but with gorgeous mid-palate depth, the Mt. Pajaro Chardonnay is simply fabulous. This is Rhys’s first high-density Chardonnay planting, and probably won’t be the last. 95.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) One of the more Burgundian-styled Chardonnays in the lineup, the 2019 Chardonnay Mt. Pajaro Vineyard has a beautiful mineral, reductive streak as well as bright citrus fruits, notes of crushed stone, mint, and white flowers, medium body, a more rounded, supple texture, and a great finish. It has plenty of up-front appeal and should keep for 5-7 years. 94.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Mount Pajaro Vineyard bottling of chardonnay from Rhys Vineyards comes in this year at a svelte 12.7 percent alcohol and offers up a nascently complex bouquet of pear, green apple, white flowers, raw almond, a lovely base of minerality and a deft framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is bright, fullish and tightly-knit, with a good core, fine mineral drive and bounce, lovely focus and a long, balanced and zesty finish. This is still quite primary and needs some bottle age to start to blossom and reveal its secondary layering of complexity. It will be a very suave, complex and very classy middleweight in due course. 2023- 2040. 92+.

2019 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Chardonnay

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) I loved the 2019 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, a complete, balanced, incredibly elegant Chardonnay that has everything you could ask for. Pure citrus, white flowers, chalky minerality, and tart white peach notes all emerge from the glass, and it’s medium-bodied, with terrific overall balance and a lengthy, salty finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It should benefit from a year in bottle and drink nicely through 2029+. 95.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) I loved the 2019 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, a complete, balanced, incredibly elegant Chardonnay that has everything you could ask for. Pure citrus, white flowers, chalky minerality, and tart white peach notes all emerge from the glass, and it’s medium-bodied, with terrific overall balance and a lengthy, salty finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It should benefit from a year in bottle and drink nicely through 2029+. 95.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Alpine Vineyard bottling of chardonnay from Rhys is their lowest alcohol wine in the vintage, coming in at 12.1 percent alcohol. On the nose, the wine is simply loaded with personality, offering up a beautiful aromatic constellation of pear, passion fruit, fresh almond, apple blossoms, a touch of honeysuckle, lovely minerality and a dollop of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is zesty, medium-full, focused and beautifully balanced, with a good core, fine soil signature and grip and a long, nascently complex and bouncy finish. This is a lovely middleweight in the making. 2023-2035+. 92+.

2019 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is laced with the essence of crushed rocks, white pepper, orchard fruit, white flowers, chalk and mint. It is a bit less forthcoming than the Alpine Chardonnay. Saline notes build into the palate staining finish. This classically austere young Chardonnay just needs time in bottle. Tasted next to the Alpine, the Horseshoe has more mid-palate weight and feeling of phenolic intensity. The differences between the two are remarkable considering the sites are just 400 yards apart. The Horseshoe is planted on Monterey shale, while the soils at Alpine are Purisima, a formation that is about 8 million years younger. Such is the complexity of the Santa Cruz Mountains. 96.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Ripe Meyer lemons, crushed stone, white flower, and exotic spice notes all emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard. Rich and medium-bodied, it has a beautiful mid-palate, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It shows the slightly more rounded, supple style of the vintage, yet I love its density and length. Give it a year or two and enjoy over the following decade. 95.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Horseshoe Vineyard chardonnay from Rhys is one of the low octane whites from the winery in this vintage, as it comes in at a cool 12.3 percent. However, the wine is very expressive on the nose, wafting from the glass in a refined blend of apple, pear, fruit blossoms, a beautiful base of soil tones, a touch of hazelnut and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is vibrant, full-bodied and tightly-knit, with lovely intensity of flavor and transparency, a fine girdle of acidity and a long, nascently complex and promising finish. This will need a few years to open up, but should prove to be a long-lived and lovely middleweight once it is ready to drink. 2024-2035+.  93.

2019 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard is a powerful, searing wine. I am not sure I have tasted a Bearwallow with this much sheer intensity. Black cherry, mocha, gravel, cloves and licorice imbue this somber, backward Pinot with quite a bit of complexity. Readers should be in no rush here. The 2019 is an exceptional Bearwallow. 96+.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Coming from a site in the Anderson Valley region of Mendocino, the 2019 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard has a classic savoriness in its dried cherry and strawberry fruits as well as loamy soil, spice, and dried herb-like aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, wonderfully balanced, and elegant on the palate, it has plenty of up-front appeal, yet I have no doubt it will still be going strong in a decade as well. 93.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93)The 2019 Bearwallow Vineyard pinot noir from Jeff Brinkman and the cellar team at Rhys is a marvelous wine in the making. The bouquet shows plenty of red fruit in its gorgeous combination of pomegranate, red and black cherries, a very complex base of soil tones, just a hint of beetroot, raw cocoa, a very discreet foundation of new oak and a topnote of rose petals. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with superb transparency and grip, a lovely core of fruit, ripe, seamless tannins and a long, tangy and perfectly balanced finish. This has great backend lift and is going to be a stunning bottle when it is fully ready to drink. 2031-2070. 94+.

2019 Rhys Porcupine Hill Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill is a beautifully translucent, nuanced Pinot that shows the heights of finesse that are possible in Anderson Valley. A wine of unreal subtlety and nuance, the Porcupine Hill hits so many high notes. Crushed red berry, mint, spice, tobacco, cedar, rose petal and espresso build over time. As always, the Porcupine Hill Pinot is sourced from high-density blocks on the property and is done with minimal whole clusters. 97.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill is another Anderson Valley release that does well in the vintage. Medium ruby-hued, with a great nose of black raspberries, baking spices, resinous herbs, and black tea, it hits the palate with medium to full body, a layered, beautifully balanced mouthfeel, lots of structure, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age, but it’s brilliant. 94+.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The densely-planted Porcupine Hill section of the Bearwallow Vineyard has produced a stellar wine in 2019. The bouquet is quite a bit more black fruity out of the blocks than the regular Bearwallow, offering up scents of black cherries, sweet dark berries, beautifully complex soil tones, bitter chocolate, woodsmoke, a touch of fresh thyme, discreet floral notes redolent of peonies and a gentle framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is bright, young and full- bodied, with a superb core of fruit, lovely mineral undertow, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a long, nascently complex and extremely promising finish. This is going to take even a few more years to blossom than the regular Bearwallow, but it will be stellar juice when it is ready to drink. 2034-2070+. 94+.

2019 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Syrah

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Syrah Bearwallow Vineyard is a new wine in this range. It offers plenty of fruit and savory accents in a fairly immediate style. I would give the 2019 2-3 years in bottle, but it already shows quite a bit of fruit and mid-palate depth. These vines were only planted in 2015, so there is every reason to think future vintages will be even better. The 50% whole clusters are expertly judged. 94.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Syrah Bearwallow Vineyard reveals a deep ruby/plum color to go with a great, meaty, savory nose of blackberries, roasted meats, pepper, iron, and violets. This rich, meaty, medium to full-bodied, concentrated Syrah reminds me of a solid Hermitage. It can be drunk today yet won’t hit maturity for another 4-5 years and should keep for a decade. 94.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 vintage is the inaugural release of a Syrah bottling from the Bearwallow Vineyard in Anderson Valley. When I asked Jeff Brinkman about the wine, he observed that the syrah here “is something that we talked about putting in almost from day one- we bought the property in 2008- but it didn’t materialize until we had enough production from the new plantings (of pinot noir) which we put in, so that we could tear out one of the weaker original Pinot blocks” and replant that section to syrah. The parcel was planted with a selection massale taken from the syrah vines at Horseshoe Vineyard. The wine included fifty percent whole clusters this year and was raised entirely in older casks and thousand liter foudre. The 2019 Bearwallow Syrah is a bit riper than its 2018 counterpart from Horseshoe, as this wine comes in at 13.8 percent octane and offers up a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, black cherries, pepper, a hint of dark chocolate, roasted meats and a fine base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full- bodied, focused and peppery in personality, with a fine core of fruit, lovely soil signature, ripe, firm tannins and a long, tangy and nascently complex finish. This is impeccably balanced and
will age superbly well, but will demand some cellaring time before it starts to drink with generosity. A great new addition to the firmament at Rhys! 2031-2065.  92+.

2019 Rhys Family Farm Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Family Farm is bright, forward and seductive, as it so often is. Sweet floral aromatics meld into a core of red/purplish berry fruit, blood orange and star anise. In 2019, the Family Farm has an exotic quality that is hugely appealing. The 2019 was done with all destemmed fruit (a first for this wine) and aged mostly in neutral oak. 94.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard is another savory, mineral-laced wine in the lineup. Black cherries, baking spices, dried earth, leather, and savory herb notes all emerge from the glass, and it’s medium-bodied, with a layered, rounded texture and outstanding length. It’s not for those looking for up-front fruit, but it’s nuanced, balanced, textured, and lengthy. It should keep for 7-8 years, if not longer. 93.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Family Farm pinot noir is another one of the riper cuvées in the Rhys lineup this year, coming in at 13.8 percent alcohol in this vintage. The wine delivers a beautiful aromatic constellation of pomegranate, black cherries, complex soil tones, a touch of coffee bean, gentle smokiness, just a whisper of sweet herb tones, black tea and a lovely framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is ripe, focused and full, with an excellent core of black fruit, fine soil undertow, fine-grained tannins and a long, beautifully balanced, tangy and complex finish. This is a very lovely wine in the making, which will be approachable earlier than the Home Vineyard bottling, but really will need at least as much time in the cellar to really start to blossom. Fine juice here! 2026-2055+. 93.

2019 Rhys Home Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard is one of the more savory wines in the range. Holiday spice cake, sweet dried cherry, tobacco leaf, cedar and earthy tones are all finely knit together. A Pinot of subtlety and nuance, the Home Vineyard, will appeal most to readers who enjoy understated wines. The 100% whole clusters add quite a bit of savoriness, but not in an exaggerated way. 94.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Ample black cherries, sappy herbs, iron, iodine, and gamey, floral notes emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, building tannins, a sappy, grippy mouthfeel, and outstanding length. It’s mostly potential at this point, but I love its overall balance and length. Give bottles 2-4 years and enjoy over the following decade or more. 94+.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Home Vineyard pinot noir from Rhys is one of the ripest in the lineup in this vintage, coming in tipping the scales at 13.9 percent octane. That duly noted, the wine is beautifully pure, precise and well-measured on both the nose and palate, with the bouquet wafting from the glass in a lovely blend of sweet dark berries, black cherries, incipient notes of cola, bonfire, a touch of espresso, dark soil tones, sweet stems and a discreet foundation of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and plush on the attack, with a fine core of fruit, good soil signature, ripe, suave tannins and a long, nascently complex and very nicely balanced finish. This is a fine bottle in the making, but it will want five to seven years in the cellar to start to display any of its secondary layers of complexity and for the backend tannins to soften up. 2026-2055+. 92+.

2019 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Mt. Pajaro Vineyard emerges from a site in the southern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains and therefore has a completely different personality than the rest of the other SCM wines in the range. Here the flavors are darker while the tannins are more incisive. Black cherry, plum, licorice, cloves and gravel infuse this brooding, muscular Pinot with tons of complexity. 96.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Lots of ripe black cherry, currants, forest floor, and damp earth notes emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir Mt. Pajaro Vineyard, a rich, medium to full-bodied Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir that has beautiful overall balance, ripe, polished tannins, and a fabulous finish. It’s a gem of a wine that can be drunk any time over the coming 10-15 years. 94.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 vintage of Mount Pajaro Vineyard pinot noir from Rhys is a very fine example of the vintage, coming in at 13.5 percent octane and delivering a young, vibrant and promising bouquet of dark berries, pomegranate, stony soil tones, a dollop of youthful stem tones, coffee bean, woodsmoke, a touch of graphite and a suave framing of spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and beautifully transparent in profile, with well-integrated tannins, fine balance and grip and a long, nascently complex finish. This is the new kid on the block amidst the other Rhys pinot noir bottlings, but it is quickly playing catch up and is certainly at home amongst these other great cuvées. 2027-2065. 92.

2019 Rhys Skyline Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) Soaring floral and spice notes open effortlessly in the 2019 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard. Rose petal, pomegranate, mint, blood orange and cinnamon all grace this classy, mid-weight Pinot from Rhys. The Skyline is another wine that is all about understatement. Here, too, the whole clusters (100%) are not especially evident. 95.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Another Santa Cruz Mountains release, the 2019 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard has a more spicy, meaty, savory style than usual, giving up lots of rich, darker cherry and currant fruits, notes of savory herbs, chocolate, baking spices, and earth, plenty of mid-palate depth, ripe, polished, yet substantial tannins, and outstanding length. Give it a few years. 94.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) As is so often the case, the 2019 Skyline pinot noir is a touch more black fruity than its siblings from the Alpine Vineyard. The bouquet is deep, pure and very promising, offering up scents of dark berries, black cherries, raw cocoa, stony minerality, a touch of graphite, a hint of chicory, some youthful stem tones, new oak and scents of bonfire in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, refined and full-bodied, with a good core of black fruit, ripe, seamless tannins, lovely focus and grip and a long, youthfully complex finish. This does not have quite the mid-palate stuffing of some of these other Rhys pinots in 2019, but I absolutely love its precision, balance and lightness of step and have a gut feeling that this may well be one of those wines that puts on a bit of weight with extended bottle age. Fine, fine juice. 2031-2075. 94.

2019 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard is a wine of nearly indescribable finesse. The sweet floral and savory bouquet alone is so enticing. Bright beams of minerality give the 2019 a feeling of energy that builds with time in the glass. The Alpine is not terribly forthcoming today, but it is clearly a long distance runner. Give it time in bottle. The 15% whole clusters are nicely integrated. 96.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) I loved the 2019 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard, a spicy, perfumed, more ethereal Pinot Noir from a great vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Revealing a translucent ruby hue as well as notes of ripe cherries, strawberries, sappy flowers, spice, and sappy underbrush, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, silky yet building tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s one of the most balanced, complete wines in the lineup and will keep for 10-15 years. 96.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Alpine Vineyard bottling of pinot noir from the Rhys team is an excellent bottle in the making. The wine offers up a precise and nascently complex bouquet of red and black cherries, a hint of beetroot, sweet stem tones, woodsmoke, pigeon, a gorgeous base of soil, dark chocolate and a discreet foundation of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and plush with ripe fruit at the core, with still plenty of whole cluster influence, ripe, seamless tannins and a long, tangy and complex finish. This is a touch riper than the Swan Terrace bottling this year (not surprisingly, as the Swan Terrace faces due east), but at 13.3 percent octane, it is perfectly ripe and beautifully expressive of its underlying terroir. All this beautiful wine needs is time in the cellar to blossom. 2031-2075. 94.

2019 Rhys Swan Terrace Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace emerges from 1.5-acre parcel in Alpine planted with the Swan clone of Pinot Noir. It is, as always, distinguished by bright, red-toned fruit. In 2019, the Swan Terrace has a bit more tannic grip than is often the case, mostly a reflection of a cooler year. That won’t be an issue in time, but it does rob the wine of some of the charm it often has in its youth. The 100% whole clusters are not especially evident, as all the elements are so harmonious in their balance. 95.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace sports a medium ruby hue to go with subtle stem-like notes in its sour cherry and mulled strawberry fruits as well as sandalwood, iron, flowers, and spice-laced nuances. Medium-bodied and nicely textured, with bright acidity and building tannins, it doesn’t appear to match prior vintages, but it’s a balanced, complex, satisfying Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir that will benefit from a year or three of bottle age and keep for a decade or more. 93.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Swan Terrace bottling from Rhys, which hails from a parcel of vines in Alpine Vineyard with an easterly exposition and loads of morning sun, is simply gorgeous in this vintage. The wine is perfectly ripe at 12.8 percent and already very expressive aromatically, offering up a beautiful constellation of dark berries, black cherries, a touch of pomegranate, a complex base of soil tones, bitter chocolate, sweet stem tones, gamebird, a touch of cedary oak and plenty of smokiness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and extremely elegant in profile, with a plump core of fruit, outstanding mineral undertow, ripe, firm tannins and a long, tangy and nascently complex finish. This is going to be simply stunning pinot when it is ready to drink, but it will need a nice sojourn in the cellar to soften up and start hitting on all cylinders. Great juice in the making! 2031-2075. 95.

2019 Rhys Alpine Hillside Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside is completely shut down today. Beams of tannin totally wrap around the fruit today. Readers should plan on being very patient here. This is an especially austere wine. Although this is a barrel selection, many of the barrels for Alpine Hillside emerge from parcels in the middle of the hill, where the terrain is the steepest. 96.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Another parcel selection from an estate vineyard, the 2019 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard Hillside reveals a medium ruby color to go with complex notes of ripe red and black fruits, dried herbs, earth, leather, and baking spices. Rich, medium-bodied, beautifully concentrated, and balanced, it has some bloody, gamey, exotic characteristics as well as enough tannins to warrant 2-4 years of bottle age. While it doesn’t match the magical 2018, it’s a seriously brilliant 2019 that’s well worth seeking out and cellaring. 96+.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2019 Hillside bottling from Alpine Vineyard is a beautiful young pinot noir. The bouquet still shows a nice touch of its youthful stems from the whole clusters, but these are covered up by a refined blend of sweet dark berries, black plums, pomegranate, coffee bean, gamebird, a complex base of dark soil tones, a suave framing of new oak and the aforementioned sweet stem tones in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a superb core of fruit, great transparency and bounce, fine-grained tannins and a long, nascently complex and absolutely perfectly balanced finish. All this great bottle of pinot noir needs is time in the cellar to fully blossom! 2032-2075. 96.

2019 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard is one of the most powerful, structured wines in this lineup. It has so much to offer, but very clearly needs quiet a bit of time. Strong mineral and savory accents drive the balance today. Crushed rocks, tobacco, cedar and earthy notes are very much in the foreground, while the fruit appears quite reticent at this stage. The Horseshoe was done with fully destemmed fruit and yet it is quite closed. I can hardly wait to taste it with some time in bottle. 96.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) The 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard is more reductive and hard to read, with lots of iodine, crushed stone, savory herbs, and assorted darker berry fruits. As with most of these latest 2019s from Rhys, it shows a more structured, savory. medium-bodied style that’s going to benefit from bottle age but have 10-15 years of overall longevity. 93+.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) Kevin Harvey’s 2019 Horseshoe Vineyard pinot is another great wine in the making. The wine is deep, pure and youthful on the nose, wafting from the glass in a refined blend of red and black cherries, a touch of pomegranate, sweet stem tones, raw cocoa, a complex base of dark soil tones, gamebird, gentle notes of cedar and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full- bodied, sappy at the core and light on its feet, with impressive transparency and grip, ripe, fine- grained tannins and a long, tangy and nascently complex finish. All this stellar bottle of pinot noir needs is some time alone in the cellar to blossom fully. Great juice! 2032-2070+. 95.

2019 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Ungrafted Vines Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard Own Rooted is magical. The ungrafted vines version of Horseshoe has more obvious fruit and texture than the ‘regular’ bottling but also plenty of the mineral and savory undertones that make that wine so appealing. I’m not sure when and if I will ever taste the Ungrafted Vines again, but I would sure like to see how it ages. I am not at all surprised to hear proprietor Kevin Harvey and longtime winemaker Jeff Brinkman add that they wish they had more parcels planted with ungrafted Pinot. 97.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Coming from vines that were not grafted onto a phylloxera-resistant rootstock, the 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard Ungrafted offers a similar translucent ruby hue as well as a savory, meaty, gamey nose of mulled cherries, spice, decayed flowers, and forest floor. More round and supple on the palate, it shows a touch more fruit and texture compared to the more firm, gamey Horseshoe Vineyard release. It too should keep for 10-15 years. 94.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) It is fascinating to taste the Horseshoe “Ungrafted Vines” bottling alongside of the Hillside cuvée from this vineyard, as the ungrafted version is a touch lighter in color (though still a lovely, dark ruby). The bouquet is deep, complex and seems more expressive out of the blocks than the Hillside, offering up a complex blend of black cherries, pomegranate, woodsmoke, raw cocoa, a beautiful base of soil tones, fresh thyme, sweet stem tones and a lovely dollop of cedar. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and very transparent in personality, with a sappy core of black fruit, excellent focus and grip, plenty of youthful stem tones on the backend, fine- grained tannins and a long, nascently complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is a wine that trades even more profoundly on its underlying soil signature than the Horseshoe Hillside, and though it is not quite as deep at the core, it seems likely to be every bit its equal when the two are ready to drink, despite this wine being a touch less intense in personality. Great juice. 2032- 2075. 95+.

2019 Rhys Horseshoe Hillside Pinot Noir

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Hillside takes all of the structure of this site and fills out the layers with striking fruit. An absolute stunner, the Hillside has so much of everything. Dark red/purplish fruit, rose petal, spice, blood orange and mint are some of the many notes that build in the glass. High-density blocks on the upper rim of Horseshoe vineyard form the core of the Hillside bottling. 98.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) A tiny production, parcel selection from the Horseshoe Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2019 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard Hillside is one of the more backward, structured, serious wines in the lineup. Notes of darker currants, sour cherries, crushed stone, iodine, forest floor, and roasted herb-like nuances all develop with time in the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a rich, layered mid-palate, building tannins, and a brilliantly focused finish. It needs a good hour in a decanter if drinking any time soon and will be best with 2-4 years of bottle age. It should have 15+ years of prime drinking. 97+.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) Rhys Vineyard’s 2019 Hillside bottling of pinot noir from the Horseshoe Vineyard is outstanding. The bouquet delivers a very promising aromatic constellation of sweet dark berries, black cherries, incipient notes of cola, a great base of soil, campfire, a bit of dark chocolate, gamebird, gentle notes from the whole clusters and a very stylish foundation of new oak. On the palate the wine is full, nascently complex and rock solid at the core, with stunning soil signature, ripe, buried tannins, superb focus and grip and a very long, poised and energetic finish. This is still a young wine, but it has backend lift that augurs extremely well for its future beauty and will be worth every minute of waiting for it to blossom in the cellar. 2034-2075. 96.

2018 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Syrah

Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (July 2021) The 2017 Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard is remarkably elegant. The red fruit character almost recalls Pinot Noir, but a backbone of firm tannins brings the mind immediately back to Syrah. Flowers, black pepper, game and leathery notes all develop with a bit of coaxing. The Syrah is maybe just a bit less varietal than it often is, but that does not detract from its immeasurable beauty. 95+.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (September 2020) Northern Rhône-like notes of white pepper, smoked game, cedar, iron, and assorted darker fruits all emerge from the 2018 Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard, a rich, medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced Syrah. This Cornas look-alike will shine for 10-15 years, if not longer. 95.

John Gilman, ViewFromtheCellar.com (May/June 2021, #93) The 2018 Syrah from the Horseshoe Vineyard is another absolutely stellar bottle in the making from Rhys Vineyards. The wine tips the scales at an even thirteen percent alcohol and delivers a beautifully precise and complex nose of black raspberries, blackberries, pepper, black olive, smoked meats, stony soil tones, black tea, just a whisper of new oak and a topnote of bonfire. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and peppery, with an excellent core of fruit, superb mineral drive and grip, ripe, firm and well-integrated tannins and a long, youthful and chewy finish. This is a long distance runner that will not be happy to be disturbed from its hibernation in the cellar for at least the next dozen years or so, but it is going to be a great bottle when it is ready to drink. 2033-2065+. 94.