2008 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Allen Meadows - Burghound
*Outstanding* An exceptionally densely fruited nose that is intensely floral and nuanced with stone, spice and soft earth hints complements to perfection the impressively concentrated medium weight plus flavors that brim with dry extract such that the very firm tannins are rendered almost invisible at present though I suspect that they will become more visible as the baby fat recedes. This broad-scaled effort should age for up to a decade and last several more. Magnificent.The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards are made from biodynamically farmed fruit and owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jeff Brinkman continue to drive the wines to new heights...Harvey has chosen his vineyard sites with a keen eye and then obsessively developed them with the one goal of obtaining fruit that expresses unerringly the uniqueness of site. Simply put, these are terroir-driven wines par excellence...As someone who samples hundreds of examples every year, I can tell you that it's extremely rare yet these wines are phenolically ripe and beautifully balanced.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
From a large 17-acre vineyard, the stunning 2008 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Ranch Vineyard (450 cases) should turn out to be one of the top wines in this portfolio. Raspberry, blueberry, ripe cherry, allspice, herb, and spring flower aromas jump from the glass of this broad, deep, dark ruby/purple-tinged Pinot. Medium to full-bodied with zesty acidity, it does not reveal any stemmy/vegetal elements despite the fact that 100% whole clusters were used during the fermentation. With good acidity, a broad flavor profile, and firm tannins, it will benefit from 2-4 years of cellaring, and should keep for two decades thereafter.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Glass-staining ruby. Assertive, smoky aromas of musky cherry, Indian spices, cocoa powder, rose and licorice, plus a whiff of cured meat. Compellingly velvety and sweet on entry, then brilliantly vibrant and mineral-driven in the mid-palate, with an explosive floral pastille quality lifting the flavors of crushed dark berries and baking spices. The wine's pungent minerality lingers on the long, gently chewy finish. This plays Richebourg to the Swan Terrace's Romanee Saint-Vivant. The crop here was 0.7 tons per acre in 2008.
Producer note: 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.