Vinous – Antonio Galloni – “I tasted many memorable wines this year, but one range stands out. The 2021s at Rhys are off the charts.”

The Rhys 2021s are off the charts. After a very difficult year in 2020, Mother Nature provided far more ideal conditions in 2021.

2021 Rhys Anderson Valley Chardonnay
The 2020 Chardonnay (Anderson Valley) is the most open-knit and accessible of the Chardonnays today. Soft and creamy, the 2021 reveals lovely richness in its orchard fruit, citrus peel and floral notes. Light tropical accents lend palpable flair to this alluring, classy Chardonnay from Rhys. 92

2021 Rhys Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) is a gorgeous wine that immediately announces the pedigree of the vintage. Crushed flowers, bright red-toned fruit, blood orange, cinnamon and rose petal open first, framed by silky tannins that lead into the persistent, nuanced finish. This is seriously impressive, especially with aeration. Exotic spiced overtones. 92

2021 Rhys Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay
The 2021 Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains) is a gorgeous appellation level wine, and also a wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring, unlike most of the 2021s. Lemon confit, marzipan, dried flowers and chamomile all grace this soft, open-knit Chardonnay from Rhys. Bright saline notes extend the super-expressive finish. Terrific. 92

2021 Rhys Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains) is another terrific appellation-level wine in this range. Bold, racy and succulent, the 2021 shows the more forward personality of the year. Ripe red cherry/plum fruit, spice, cedar and sweet pipe tobacco are nicely pushed forward in this open-knit, alluring Pinot. Best of all, the 2021 can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring. 92

2021 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Chardonnay
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. 94

2021 Rhys Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir
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. 96

2021 Rhys Porcupine Hill Pinot Noir
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. 97

2021 Rhys Home Vineyard Pinot Noir
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+

2021 Rhys Family Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir Family Farm is a wine of pure and total sensuality. Silky, aromatic and elegant, the 2021 is immediately captivating. Crushed rose petal, succulent red berry fruit, cinnamon, dried leaves and pipe tobacco soar out of the glass. This is another Pinot where the fruit is quite buried today, but all the elements are so well put together, making the Family Farm one of the more approachable wines in the range. Deeper, clay soils yield a Pinot with super-elegant tannins. 96

2021 Rhys Skyline Vineyard Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard is one of the most potent, structured wines in this range. Black fruit, graphite, lavender, dried herbs and menthol are all dialed up to the maximum in this explosive, heady Pinot. This somber, brooding Pinot demands cellaring. There’s tremendous vertical thrust here. A combination of shale, limestone and sandstone soils yields a wonderfully complex, dynamic Pinot. 97

2021 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Chardonnay
The 2021 Chardonnay Mt. Pajaro Vineyard is the most ethereal and finely cut of the Chardonnays in this range. White pepper, chalk, mint, crushed rocks and citrus abound. Ethereal and understated, with tons of saline intensity, the 2021 is compelling in every way. I especially admire its translucent intensity. Bright saline notes reverberate throughout. I would prefer to cellar this, but a few hours of aeration will also do the trick. Magnificent .97

2021 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir Mt. Pajaro Vineyard is unique within the range of Rhys Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots in that it is the sole wine that emerges from the southern part of the appellation. Brisk and finely cut, the Mt. Pajaro encapsulates all the pedigree of this part of the appellation. Crushed rocks, chalk, white pepper, dried herbs and mint give the 2021 its brilliant upper register. This vivid, crystalline Pinot is simply lights out.96

2021 Rhys Mt. Pajaro Vineyard Chenin Blanc
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.94

2021 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Chardonnay
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. 98

2021 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir
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. 98

2021 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay
The 2021 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is a powerful, explosive white that demands patience. Crushed rocks, lemon peel, white flowers, mint and slate race across the palate, making a strong first impression. A huge mid-palate of fruit lies beyond, just waiting to unfurl. This tightly-coiled, mineral-drenched Chardonnay will be superb, in a few years’ time. 97

2021 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Pinot Noir
The 2021 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard is redolent of macerated cherry, spice, tobacco, cedar, dried leaves, orange peel and a kiss of French oak. High-toned and sensual, the 2021 is quite open today, especially in its bouquet, but it also has the energy and overall structure to age. 96

2021 Rhys Horseshoe Vineyard Chenin Blanc
The 2021 Chenin Blanc Horseshoe Vineyard is creamy, open-knit and inviting, which makes it one of the more accessible whites among these new releases. Orchard fruit, spice, mint, chamomile and dried flowers meld together, with soft contours that lend quite a bit of immediacy. 92

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