2008 Rhys "Alpine Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The deep ruby-colored 2008 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard (a 10-acre parcel planted at 1,400 feet) possesses a big, sweet, powerful nose of raspberries, spring flowers, damp earth, and mossy, foresty vegetation. Sweet currants, pomegranates, and black raspberries also emerge on the palate of this full-bodied effort. With excellent acidity and delineation as well as a weighty, long, rich mouthfeel with lots of structure and tannin, this enormously promising wine suggests a long life if stored in a cold cellar. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby. Pure, highly expressive aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, minerals, rose petal and spicecake. Wonderfully suave on entry, then vibrant and sappy in the middle palate, offering pungent raspberry, cherry and candied floral flavors of outstanding density and freshness. Gains power on the back half, finishing with outstanding lift, perfume and a gripping note of bitter cherry skin. Really intriguing wine and one of the highlights of my recent trip to California Winemaker Jeff Brinkman told me that these grapes were incredibly tiny. (ST)
Allen Meadows - Burghound
Like all of the Rhys '08s, the aromatic complexity of the Alpine is more than just admirable, it's distinctive as it offers a lacy and pure mélange of cherry and blue berry fruit aromas cut with floral and mild wood notes that precede the backward and moderately austere flavors that are underpinned by firm but not aggressive tannins and excellent length on the balanced finish. While the Alpine is also built to age, it appears that it may come around a bit sooner.
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."