From the Wine Advocate

Jeb Dunnuck Continues to Praise Rhys’ 2014s in Latest Wine Advocate

Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate Issue 227 (Oct 28)

2014 Rhys Vineyards Chardonnay Anderson Valley

There’s 500 cases of the 2014 Chardonnay Anderson Valley, which represents a fabulous value. Fermented and aged in 20% new French oak, on lees, with no battonage, it has a touch of tropical characteristics as well as citrus blossom, crushed rocks and ample toasted bread and nuttiness that emerges more on the palate. Clean, classy, impeccably balanced and elegant, buy it by the case and drink bottles over the coming 3-4 years. 90

2014 Rhys Vineyards Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard

Harvey’s 2014 Chardonnay Bearwallow Vineyard is classy, orchard fruit, white peach and honeysuckle-scented effort that has notable richness, a balanced, layered texture and a touch of minerality and toastiness on the finish. It’s ideal for drinking over the coming 4-6 years. 92

2014 Rhys Vineyards Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard

The 2014 Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard is another terrific white from this team. Offering tons of white fruits, white peach, honeyed apples and a touch of toasty oak, with a saltiness on the finish, it’s an impeccably balance, clean, pure Chardonnay that excels on its purity of fruit and elegance. It’s beautiful today, but I suspect it will evolve nicely through 2024. 94

2014 Rhys Vineyards Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard

My favorite of the Chardonnays, the 2014 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard reveals more minerality than the Alpine Vineyard, with lots of crushed rock, caramelized white currant, white peach and a distinct saltiness all emerging from the glass. This rich, beautifully concentrated and layered Chardonnay needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for a decade. 95

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Anderson Valley

The 500-case 2014 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley comes all from the estate’s Bearwallow Vineyard, which they’ve grown from an original six acres planted to now 32 acres in total. Mostly destemmed and aged all in old oak, it offers a spice-laced bouquet of framboise, black raspberries, dried herbs and underbrush to go with a medium-bodied, beautifully textured style on the palate. It’s already drinking nicely, but should keep for 5-7 years. 90

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard

The 2014 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard is a solid step up over the Anderson Valley release and has more tension, elegance and precision. Offering up classic notes of strawberries, spice, black cherries and a touch of sous bois, it has medium to full-bodied richness, terrific purity of fruit and integrated acidity. Give bottles a year or two and drink through 2026. 94

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill

Coming from the high density plantings done by the team at Rhys (it’s also a cellar selection as well), the 2014 Pinot Noir Porcupine Hill Bearwallow Vineyard is another best to date cuvee and is easily the most concentrated and lengthy of the three cuvees from this site. Black raspberries, black cherries, tons of minerality and ground herbs emerge from this young, tight and beautifully focused red that needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will drink beautifully over the following decade or more. 95

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

Described as the most Sonoma-like of their Pinot Noirs, the 2014 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard comes from clay soils and sees roughly 40% whole clusters and one-third new French oak. This rounded, supple and sexy Pinot Noir lacks the tension and structure of the Santa Cruz Mountain releases, yet makes up for it with its sumptuous aromas and flavors of spiced red fruits, smoked herbs, forest floor and spice. Drink this beauty anytime through 2024. 91

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Home Vineyard

From a hillside site, the backwards, structured 2014 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard offers lots of minerality as well as notes of scrub brush, resinous herbs, spring flowers and assorted red and black fruits. It has serious tannin, yet also beautiful mid-palate depth, purity of fruit and length. Forget bottles for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following decade. 91+

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard

Coming from a rocky terroir located right off of Skyline drive, which is surprisingly the warmest site Kevin works with, yet also results in the lowest alcohol level of all of the Pinot Noirs, the 2014 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard sees 100% whole cluster and one-third new French oak. Stems, pepper, crushed rocks, smoked earth and ample darker fruits emerge from this serious, concentrated, structured beauty that has ripe tannin, a beautiful mid-palate and a big finish. It needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will keep for 10-15 years after that. 93+

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

Another complete, broad and layered red that delivers on all accounts, the 2014 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard reveals a healthy ruby color as well as a darker core of red and black raspberry fruits, peppery spice and forest floor in its medium to full-bodied, balanced personality. I love its mid-palate, and while it certainly offers pleasure today, it should be at its best from 2019-2029. 94

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard

A wine I think is the best vintage to date, the sensational 2014 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard comes from one of the top sites in all of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Incredibly complex, with layers of sweet black cherries, black raspberries, barnyard, wild herbs and spice, it has medium to full-bodied richness, a pure, impeccably balanced texture and a great finish. Drink this gorgeous Pinot Noir anytime over the coming 10-15 years. 95

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Swan Terrace

Coming from a small, east-facing section of the Alpine Vineyard and very chalky soils, the 2014 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace is an impeccably balanced, complete Pinot Noir that has everything you could want from the grape. Gorgeous red and black fruits, roasted herbs, smoked earth and spice all jump from the glass of this seamless red that has polished tannin (and plenty of them), a layered, balanced profile and no shortage of length. Like all of these 2014s, it needs short-term cellaring and will have two decades of overall longevity. 96

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard Hillside

While there won’t be a 2015 released due to dismal yields, the 2014 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard Hillside is an utterly profound wine. Tasting just like the straight Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir, only more tannic and structured, this beauty boasts awesome notes of black raspberries, spring flowers, baking spices and crushed rocks, with a tight, backwards, concentrated style on the palate. It desperately needs 3-4 years of cellaring, but is a tour de force in Pinot Noir from California! 95+

2014 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Horseshoe Hillside Vineyard

Another straight up gorgeous red is the 2014 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard Hillside, and it’s possibly the wine of the vintage. Having said that, it’s certainly not for those looking for instant gratification. More focused, mineral-laced and masculine than the Alpine Vineyard, with lots of crushed rocks, smoked black fruits, black cherries, leather and peppery herbs, it has fabulous purity and precision on the palate, with tight-grained tannin, impeccable balance and a great finish. It needs 4-6 years of cellaring and will have two decades or more of longevity. 96+

2013 Rhys Vineyards Syrah Skyline Vineyard

The inky colored 2013 Syrah Skyline Vineyard is another northern Rhône look-alike that offers terrific notes of black and blue fruits, olive tapenade, bacon fat and smoked meats. Backwards, unevolved and concentrated, yet with beautiful fruit, it needs short-term cellaring and will keep through 2029. 93+

2013 Rhys Vineyards Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard

Rhys’ 2013 Syrah Horseshoe Ranch Vineyard is a downright peppery, gamey, olive and bloody meat-scented Syrah that offers more than a touch of Cornas-like character. Medium to full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and balanced, with ripe tannin and a big finish, give bottles 2-3 years in the cellar and drink over the following decade. 95

Barrel Samples

2015 Rhys Vineyards Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard

Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2015 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard is about as sexy and rounded as they come from this estate. Passion fruits, black raspberries, spice and exotic floral characteristics all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, beautifully concentrated Pinot Noir that should drink beautifully in its youth, yet also evolve gracefully. (91 – 93)

2015 Rhys Vineyards Syrah Horseshoe Vineyard

Tasted out of barrel, the 2015 Syrah Horseshoe Ranch Vineyard, which always sees 100% whole clusters and neutral oak, reminds me a of Cornas from Pierre-Marie Clape with its distinct iron, currants, beef blood and peppery dark fruits. Rich, concentrated and full-bodied, with plenty of tannin, it will need 4-5 years of cellaring and I suspect have two decades of overall longevity. (93 – 95)+

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