2008 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1069914 95 points 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.  (10/2010)

92-94 points 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.  (2/2010)

93 points 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.  (6/2010)

K&L Notes

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.

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Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some RhĂ´ne varietals prosper as well.
Organic: