Allen Meadows continues to award Rhys his highest ratings with the 2010 vintage

by Allen Meadows,

The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards are made from organic and biodynamically farmed fruit and owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jeff Brinkman continue to fashion truly remarkable wines. At each of their vineyards sites, over 75% of the land is left in a completely natural state, while less than 25% is in vines. In addition to the native wildlife, they plant herb, flower, vegetable, and grain crops while free ranging chickens and sheep also help naturally fertilize the vineyards with the philosophy that creating a living soil creates better wine. Their winemaking process, from harvest to bottling, is based on a gentle gravity system and Rhys wines are never pumped, fined, or filtered. For further information, call 866-511-1520 or visit:

2010 Pinot Noir San Mateo County

(13.3%). An intensely floral and overtly spicy plum, violet and cassis-suffused nose introduces round, lush and utterly delicious medium-bodied flavors that possess excellent depth, all wrapped in a rounded finish that is supported by noticeable but well-integrated tannins as well as excellent persistence. This is really very good, particularly for an entry level wine in the context of the Rhys line-up. Lovely stuff that possesses enough dry extract that it could even be drunk now with pleasure if desired though I would recommend at least 30 minutes in a decanter first. 90/2017+

2010 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

(Santa Cruz Mountains, 13.7%). This is one of the riper wines in the range and it displays its wood treatment a bit more prominently as well with cassis, plum, spice and dried rose petal scents. There is good volume and a seductive mid-palate as there is good concentration and sap to the delicious yet entirely serious finish that is supported by firm but not aggressive tannins. This is really very good, if a bit of an outlier stylistically. 91/2017+

2010 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard

(Anderson Valley, 13.4%). Here the nose reminds me somewhat of the Skyline in that it is very restrained and similar in composition with its floral, spice and mostly dark berry fruit aromas. By contrast, while there is a lovely sense of refinement to the medium-bodied flavors there isn’t the same level of concentration or depth of material, particularly on the otherwise balanced and very pretty finish. This is certainly lovely but good as it is it’s clearly not at the same level as the best here. 90/2016+

2010 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

(San Mateo County, 12.7%). There is substantial wood showing and the dark berry fruit and violet aromas are almost overwhelmed. The wood is also present on the delicious, round and solidly well- concentrated medium-bodied flavors that possess good punch and a seductive mouth feel, all wrapped in a persistent finish where the wood rounds off and slightly sweetens it. There is very good material here and thus it’s entirely possible that the wood will be successfully integrated in time but at the moment it is too much for my preference. 89/2017+

2010 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard

(San Mateo County, 12.5%). There is a distinct floral character to the ripe and discreetly spicy black cherry and cassis suffused nose. There is fine concentration to the generous, round and relatively large-scaled flavors that possess buried but firm tannins that become more apparent on the impressively persistent finish that delivers excellent depth. I like the balance as well as the delivery. 92/2018+

2010 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard

(Santa Cruz Mountains, 12.7%). Here the floral dark berry fruit and spice-tinged nose is presently marked by the toasty wood though an hour or so of air helps to dissipate it. There is good volume and mid- palate density to the delicious, round and nicely detailed medium-bodied flavors that exhibit noticeable bitterness on the otherwise attractively long finish. The extended aeration also helped to largely, if not completely, dissipate the bitterness and it seems clear that this will be one of those wines that is best left to slumber in the cellar for several years first as it’s conspicuously awkward today.90/2018+

2010 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard

(Santa Cruz Mountains, 12.4%). A reserved nose speaks of floral, spice and dark berry fruit that is more in the black berry family than cassis. This benefits enormously from several hours of aeration though interesting, rather than opening further it actually tightens up and becomes more precise, particularly on the focused, powerful and lingering finish. This is perhaps less complex at this very early stage than I’m used to seeing, but that is only of concern if you want to try one young as this is clearly built to be drunk a decade (or more) from now. 93/2018+

2010 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace

(Santa Cruz Mountains, 13.6%). This is a distinctly ripe vintage for this wine with menthol, spice, lavender and violet aromas introducing rich, round and large-scaled flavors that possess a very mild tanginess on the broad, intense and impressively long finish. This is a robust effort that is mildly awkward today as the tang doesn’t fit in with the rest of the wine. Given how well this wine has performed over the years however my score offers the benefit of the doubt that it will harmonize in time as the underlying material certainly appears to be present. 91/2020+

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