2009 Rhys "Alpine Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1091810 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard tends towards a dark red, almost black expression of wild cherries. It is an intensely coiled, powerful wine in need of a few years of cellaring. The mineral notes speak very clearly in this pointed, beautifully articulated Pinot. With time in the glass the wine’s inner perfume begins to emerge, but the best is years away. The chiseled, pure finish leaves a lasting impression. This is the most finely-knit, complete wine in the Rhys portfolio. (AG)  (8/2012)

93 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 *Outstanding* Here the nose is similar to that of the Skyline but with more obvious spice notes that carry over to the exceptionally rich and large-scaled flavors that possess very firm and ripe tannins that coat the mouth yet are not aggressive or drying. This very serious effort is not as refined as the Skyline but it is just as complex and a lot more powerful.  (10/2011)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid ruby. Ripe red berries and cherry-vanilla on the nose, with complicating notes of dried rose, cola and Asian spices. Fleshy and smooth in texture, offering sweet but lively red and dark berry flavors and hints of sassafras and candied rose. Finishes on an expansive cherry note, with resonating spiciness and a sexy floral nuance. (ST)  (6/2011)

Wine Spectator

 This tight red shows loamy earth, dried berry and anise flavors, ending with a crushed rock note and gritty tannins. Offers the purest, cleanest and ripest expression of the 2009 Rhys bottlings. Drink now through 2022. (JL)  (9/2012)

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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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.

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.


- 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.