"Across the board, these are tight and structured, with terrific concentration."
by Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (August 2017)
This was a terrific lineup of 2015s from the team at Rhys. Across the board, these are tight and structured, with terrific concentration. Give them a few years of bottle age. Unfortunately, due to the devastating yields, there’s no Skyline Vineyard or Hillside releases in 2015s. In addition, they have a new estate vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains (bringing their total to seven estate vineyards) that will be coming on line over the next couple of years. Named Mount Pajaro Vineyard, the site was planted in 2010 and covers 18 acres in the southern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, planted all with high density, 3.5 feet row spacing. Harvey commented that they’ve learned a lot over the past decade planting their other estate properties and they’re excited about the quality of this site.
2015 Rhys Anderson Valley Chardonnay
Looking at the releases from Mendocino County, the 2015 Chardonnay Anderson Valley offers a riper, slightly tropical style in its aromatics and possesses lots of caramelized pineapples, orange blossom, and honeysuckle nuances, with some toasty, nutty notes developing with time in the glass. With terrific mid-palate depth and fat on the palate, as well as bright acidity and a great finish, it’s what I call a Smoking Value! It’s already impossible to resist, with a rounded feel, yet I suspect it will keep for a decade 93.
2015 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Chardonnay
The single vineyard release from Anderson Valley is the 2015 Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard and it offers more citrus oil, white flowers and lemon characteristics compared to the Anderson Valley release. With building richness, a sensational texture, integrated, yet bright acidity, and a great finish, it’s just another killer Chardonnay from this estate that’s well worth your time and money. Like the Anderson Valley release, it’s far from unapproachable today, yet it will keep for a decade or more. 94.
2015 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Chardonnay
One of my favorite Chardonnays from this team is always the Alpine Vineyard and it’s a classic, pure expression of Chardonnay that ages beautifully. The 2015 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard is certainly one of the great examples of this terroir and it shows terrific concentration and viscosity, while staying elegant, pure and perfectly balanced. White peach, citrus oil, tangerine and white flower characteristics give way to a medium to full-bodied, tight, backward Chardonnay that has racy acidity, more than enough fruit, and a great finish. Give bottles 2-4 years and enjoy over the following decade or more. 97.
2015 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay
The 2015 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is also world class. Slightly more aromatic and exuberant than the Alpine Vineyard, yet with slightly less density on the palate, it gives up a masculine, mineral-laced style in its orchard fruits, fennel, wet stone, campsite and citrus aromas and flavors. With medium to full-bodied richness, bright acidity and a clean, classic and structured finish, it should be better in another year and keep through 2027. 95.
2015 Rhys Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Leading off the wines from Mendocino, the straight 2015 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley is terrific. Black raspberries, singed herbs, earth and sappy flower notes all emerge from this supple, textured 2015 that’s already a joy to drink. It’s certainly one of the more approachable in the lineup, yet like all the wines from this estate, it’s going to keep nicely for a decade due to its balance and classic style. 93.
2015 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir
The larger production 2015 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard offers a classic bouquet of ripe red fruits and dried cherries, loads of spice and earth, medium-bodied richness, and a terrific savoriness that keeps you coming back to the glass. It’s another wine from this estate that blossoms with time in the glass, is impeccably balanced and will impressive for 10-15 years. 93.
2015 Rhys Porcupine Hill Pinot Noir
From the same vineyard as the Bearwallow cuvee, the 2015 Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill comes from newer, high density plantings checking in at a seriously packed 17,000 vines per hectare. It’s one of most seamless, sexy, yet still balanced and classic wines I’ve tasted from Kevin and his team. Black raspberries, framboise, rose garden, violets and loads of spice all flow to an incredibly textured, seamless, perfectly ripe Pinot Noir that has silky tannin and a great finish. The tannin quality is what really separates this cuvee from the straight vineyard release, and it’s a more polished, elegant wine that’s going to age beautifully. Drink it anytime over the coming 15+ years. 96.
2015 Rhys San Mateo County Pinot Noir
Moving to the reds and the most charming and forward of the lineup, the 2015 Pinot Noir San Mateo County release is a character-filled effort loaded with notions of strawberries, pit fruits, singed herbs, leather and wild flowers. It has a slightly exotic quality, medium-bodied richness, light tannin and a beautiful finish. It’s well worth your time and money, and will drink nicely over the coming 4-5 years. 90.
2015 Rhys Family Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir
My favorite vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2015 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard is just smoking good. Possessing awesome complexity and depth in its framboise, cassis, spice, forest floor and leafy, green herb aromatics, it hits the palate with an understated, yet building style that carries beautiful richness, sweet, polished tannin and surprising length. While the overall impression here is one of upfront charm and fruit, it’s going to keep nicely in the cellar given its balance, depth and length. Count me as fan. 95.
2015 Rhys Home Vineyard Pinot Noir
The 2015 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard comes from a site in San Mateo County and it’s a pretty, forward, neutral oak. It offers textbook notes of mulled red fruits, underbrush, dried flowers and dried earth, with lots of savoriness and minerality (I’m sure from the stems) coming through with time in the glass. It’s polished and nicely textured on the palate, with good density and savory tannin that could use a touch more ripeness. It will benefit from short term cellaring and keep through 2027. 92.
2015 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir
A significant step up over the Horseshoe Vineyard (time will help clear this up, though), the 2015 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard is straight up sensational! Its medium ruby color is followed by a deep, slightly reticent bouquet of cherry pits, black raspberries, dried violets, forest floor and spice. Incredibly nuanced, seamless, silky and refined on the palate, with terrific tension, purity, and concentration, it’s one of the do- not-miss wines of the 2015 vintage! 97.
2015 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Pinot Noir
Leading off the two Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noirs, the 2015 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard is tight and closed, with a mineral, savory quality to it red currants, spice and dried herbs aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, concentrated and with a solid core of sweet fruit, it needs a year of bottle age and will keep for a decade. 92+.
2015 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Syrah
While this site is mostly known for Pinot Noir, it makes a seriously good Syrah. The 2015 Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard is a youthful, backward, even unevolved, effort that reveals a deep purple color as well as notes of cassis, black raspberries, bay leaf, violets and a hint of mint. It reveals plenty of pepper and classic cool-climate Syrah characteristics with time in the glass, is medium to full- bodied, has terrific purity, and a great finish. 92.