2023 Fall Single Vineyard Release

The 2021 Vintage

After the tragedy of the 2020 fires, it was quite relief to see 2021 unfold as a much less eventful vintage in which all of our vineyards excelled. As has become common over the last decade, the 2021 growing season was extremely dry with just 50% of normal rainfall in the preceding winter.

These dry conditions, combined with the shallow and well-drained rocky soils of our estate vineyards produced clusters with thick skins and lower than normal amounts of juice. While these conditions usually produce exceptionally intense wines, what makes 2021 unusual is this intensity is allied with exceptional acidity in both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Wines

2021 Alpine Vineyard Chardonnay

The intensity and depth of Alpine Chardonnay are particularly striking in the 2021 vintage. The combination of low-production heritage clones and extremely shallow shale soils produces a powerful wine with lots of citrus peel, white flowers, and briny minerality. This is a classic Alpine Chardonnay that’s going to need a few years in the cellar to unfurl, but will reward drinking for years to come.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard is so strikingly different from the Horseshoe. It offers tremendous concentration and pure power, a sort of seamless intensity that builds and then carries through to its substantial, resonant finish. Citrus confit, dried flowers, mint and chamomile linger. What a wine. 98pts.”

2021 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir

Alpine produced one of our most intense wines of the vintage, combining pure red fruit and briny minerality with terrific structure and grace. We’ve been making Alpine Pinot for more than twenty years now, and this could be one of the most complex and age-worthy examples we’ve ever seen.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “Density and power are the calling cards in the 2021 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard. This embryonic Pinot is going to need time to really blossom, but it is so impressive today. Kirsch, tobacco, cinnamon, dried herbs and spice open with coaxing. As is so often the case, the Alpine has an aromatic profile that recalls one of the great vineyards in Vosne-Romanée. I love its exotic beauty. 98pts.”

2021 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Chardonnay

What we love about the Chardonnay from Bearwallow is its combination of weightless elegance and intensity. The 2021 version boasts increased intensity and bright acidity, making this a truly special vintage. Expressive notes of orchard fruits and white flowers are wrapped up in Bearwallow’s signature earthy minerality, producing a complete wine that will begin drinking well in a few years and age for many more to come.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard is bright, focused and intensely saline. Readers will want to cellar the 2021 for at least a few years, as it is a very serious white. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper, slate and chalk all lend brilliance to this deceptively mid-weight, focused Chardonnay. The 2021 really sizzles. 94pts.”

2021 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2021 vintage in the Anderson Valley provided an extra dose of structure to the wines at Bearwallow, making for a rare Pinot noir that’s going to drink well now and for perhaps decades to come. Classic Bearwallow notes of crunchy red fruit are joined by dusty earth tones and refreshing acidity.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard is a powerful, somber wine in its first impression. Black fruit, spice, tobacco, charcoal embers and graphite infuse the 2021 with tons of gravitas. A Pinot of imposing depth and structure, the Bearwallow is incredibly impressive in the early going. Extended aeration brings out the wine’s inner sweetness and perfume, along with a more refined dimension that is not apparent initially. The Anderson Valley Pinots have always played second fiddle to the Santa Cruz Mountains bottlings within this range, but that is starting to change. 96pts.”

2021 Rhys Porcupine Hill Pinot Noir

Porcupine Hill is our name for the small east-facing knoll on the northwest edge of Bearwallow. This special parcel contains the densest plantings of Pinot noir at Bearwallow and produces extremely classy wines that reward age. The 2021 is a powerhouse of a wine, exhibiting the same red fruit character as the Bearwallow but with the dial turned up a notch.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill is one of the most impressive Anderson Valley Pinots I have tasted from Rhys. It emerges from a newer section of ultra high-density vines. Iron, white pepper, dried herbs, rose petal and dark red-toned fruit all run through this potent, backward Pinot. I would be in no rush to open the 2021, as it is quite the powerhouse. Next to the Bearwallow, the Porcupine Hill is darker and also broader in feel. 97pts.”

2021 Rhys Home Vineyard Pinot Noir

We sometimes feel that the Home gets overlooked for its bigger siblings, but this tiny acre and a half vineyard really excelled in 2021. While it’s definitely going to require cellaring to truly bloom, it’s surprisingly lithe and drinkable with some air.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard is a potent, wild wine. Strong savory and floral notes open first, but on the palate the wine is rather reticent. That should not be an issue in another few years’ time, but the 2021 is very closed down. This is another wine that is going to need a few years to come together. Today, acids and tannins dominate, signatures of soils that especially rocky. 94+pts.”

2021 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Chenin Blanc

The popularity of our Chenin Blanc since we first released the 2016 vintage still surprises us! We expect the 2021 will be no exception, it’s a terrific rendition of the variety. The nose is positively explosive with floral, waxy, and flinty notes dominating. Like the very best versions from the Loire Valley of France, it effortlessly balances full-bodied fruit, racy acidity, and a very long and mineral finish.

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, (Sept 2023) – “The 2021 Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro Vineyard is fabulous. It offers a compelling mix of varietal and site character. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper, chalk, citrus and bright saline notes abound. A wine of crystalline purity and tension, the 2021 bristles with character. I loved it. 94pts.”