Rhys 2012 Pinots at the top of the heap in latest Burghound

Rhys 2012 Pinots at the top of the heap in latest Burghound

by Allen Meadows, Burghound.com

The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards are made from organic and biodynamically farmed fruit. Owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jeff Brinkman continue to fashion truly remarkable wines, indeed they are consistently among the best examples that California has to offer. At each of their vineyards sites, over 75% of the land is left in a completely natural state. In addition to the native wildlife, they plant herbs, flowers, vegetables and grain crops while free ranging chickens and sheep also help naturally fertilize the vineyards. This is all part of their philosophy that creating a living soil creates better wine. Their winemaking process, from harvest to bottling, is based on a gravity system and the wines are never pumped, fined, or filtered. Readers should be aware that the Rhys wines are clearly fashioned in a built-to-age style and thus are most assuredly not intended to show their best young. Thus I would suggest that if you’re going to buy them do so with the intent to allow for at least a few years of bottle age. For further information, call 866.511.1520 or visit: www.rhysvineyards.com.


2012 Pinot Noir Alder Springs Vineyard

(Mendocino County 12.5%) There is a subtle touch of wood framing the overtlyripe and densely fruited aromas of black raspberry, floral and softly spices elements. I like the texture of the medium-bodied flavors that possess good verve and volume before terminating in a moderately firm, mouth coating and mildly austere finale. This will clearly need a few years of bottle age to fully harmonize but the upside development potential is evident.  91/2019+

2012 Pinot Noir San Mateo County

(13.3%). A somber dark berry fruit nose is primarily comprised of dark currant and plum scents along with floral and spice nuances. There is a lovely sense of underlying tension to the detailed and attractively intense middle weight flavors that possess a lovely mouth feel, all wrapped in a balanced, delicious and lingering finish. This is one of those “built to age but approachable now” wines that could actually be enjoyed immediately or held for future development as the buyer prefers.  90/2019+

2012 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard

(Santa Cruz Mountains; 12.9%). A subtle application of wood blends into the ripe plum and dark raspberry suffused nose where again there are pretty floral and spice notes. There is fine verve and a more elegant mouth feel to the delicious and relatively round medium weight flavors that possess fine depth and really lovely balance on the lingering finish. I really like the delivery as it’s lacy but serious and like the straight pinot noir this should drink well young yet age effortlessly thanks to the impeccably good balance.  92/2020+

2012 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard

(Anderson Valley, 12.5%). Here the nose is quite reticent and requires considerable swirling to liberate the wonderfully fresh and cool black cherry, raspberry and floral scents. In much the same
fashion as the Alpine the medium weight flavors possess a strikingly refined mouth feel yet there is a bit more heft to the midpalate, all wrapped in a solidly structured, balanced and beautifully long finish. This is a bigger and more powerful effort that possesses plenty of dry extract to buffer the firm tannic spine. In contrast to the prior two wines I would suggest holding this for at least 4 to 5 years first but it will need 10 or so to reach its full apogee.  92/2022+

2012 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard

(San Mateo County, 13.1%). The floral component that many of the wines in the range display is more evident along with the same lovely freshness to the dark pinot fruit and Asian tea aromas. From a
textural standpoint this more resembles the Alpine as there is good verve and detail to the middle weight flavors that culminate in a palate coating, balanced and impressively lingering finish. This is exceptionally pretty but doesn’t quite have the depth of the best in the range, at least not yet. 91/2019+

2012 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard

(San Mateo County, 13%). The wood treatment is more obvious though it remains subtle as it allows the notably ripe aromas of plum, dark chocolate, dried flowers and essence of black cherry to shine. There is a sleek mouth feel to the voluminous and beautifully detailed flavors that possess fine mid-palate concentration and really lovely depth and length. The intensity does a slow build from the mid-palate to the beautifully long finale and about the only nit is a discreet hint of warmth. 92/2020+

2012 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard

(from Santa Cruz Mountains fruit; 13.5%). Once again there is an all but invisible touch of wood setting off the cool, elegant and complex nose that is composed of dark cherry, raspberry, floral, tea and spice nuances. There is a lovely sense of energy to the well-delineated and beautifully refined flavors that possess a dusty mouth feel before terminating in a balanced and delicious finish that is subtly persistent. Here too there is a subtle hint of warmth but it is sufficiently slight that is does not affect the overall sense of harmony.  91/2020+

2012 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard

(Santa Cruz Mountains; 12.8%). An intensely floral and expressive nose offers up notes of black cherry, anise and raspberry liqueur-like scents. There is good detail and the same beguiling mouth feel to the mid-palate of the middle weight flavors that exude a fine bead of minerality onto the moderately firm, dusty and gorgeously balanced finale. This is quite reserved at present and will definitely need time as it is quite backward. That said, this should deliver the goods if you have the patience to wait. 93/2022+

2012 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace

(Santa Cruz Mountains; 12.6%). This is perhaps the most aromatically reserved wine in the range with mostly floral aromas of tea, black raspberry and subtle anise nuances. There is good volume and concentration to the muscular yet relatively refined medium-bodied flavors that possess plenty of dry extract that coats the palate on the dusty, intense and hugely long finish. This is arguably the biggest and most powerful though not the most elegant wine in the range that will also need plenty of patience. 93/2022+

See all Reviews