2006 Rhys "Swan Terrace - Alpine Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1071689 93 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 *Outstanding* A notably ripe nose that has a menthol and cranberry liqueur character plus a subtle touch of crushed herb that can also be found on the rich, full, naturally sweet and admirably detailed middle weight flavors underpinned by a fire core of ripe tannins and fine length. At present this is youthfully austere and will require 4 to 6 years to really display fully of what it's ultimately capable. Impressive. The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards made from biodynamically farmed fruit and the Alesia wines (made from carefully selected purchased fruit - see above) are made by Alpine Road Winery, which is the pet project of owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jason Jardine. I toured the vineyards located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and they are indeed spectacular and if you have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it...the style is a full 180 degrees away from the fruit bomb style that some wineries fashion. These wines are already special but as the vines mature and the Rhys team understands better how to maximize the full potential of their fruit, I predict they will become among the reference standards for Pinot Noir in California.  (10/2008)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated red. Strawberry and raspberry aromas are complicated by exotic Asian spices and gain sweetness with air. Sexy stuff, with deep, pure red and dark berry flavors, seamless texture and excellent finishing clarity. Leaves a lingering cherry skin note behind. (JR)  (11/2008)

Wine Spectator

 Tightly structured, firm and spicy, with wild berry, black cherry and hints of sage and mineral. Those who favor their Pinots on the sleek, minerally side will find this especially appealing. (Web Only—2008)

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 Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Organic: