2010 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Green-tinged gold. Complex, highly fragrant aromas of peach pit, melon and candied orange, with intense mineral and iodine qualities gaining power with air. Sappy and expansive, offering vibrant pit fruit, pear and anise flavors lifted by zesty minerality. Rich but lithe and stony, finishing with excellent clarity and a persistent note of bitter citrus pith. I was strongly reminded of a serious Chablis.
It is amazing to witness just how much freshness and vibrancy the 2010 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard has acquired over the last year. Bright, floral, mineral-infused notes have developed, adding considerable nuance and understated finesse to layers of deeply expressive, exotic fruit. This is a fabulous showing from Rhys.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard comes across as surprisingly tropical for Rhys. Pineapple, passion fruit, mint, flowers and honey wrap around the palate in this juicy, expressive Chardonnay. Mineral notes appear later to frame the finish. The 2010 harvest produced the lowest alcohols yet for Chardonnay at Rhys. I also tasted the 2007, which was never commercially released. That wine has acquired quite a bit of complexity, with notes of smokiness and graphite that round out the fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.
Alluring honey, beeswax and ripe fig aromas give this the appearance of a much richer wine. On the palate the flavors are vibrant and more streamlined, ending with a mix of citrus, green apple and butterscotch flavors, long and lingering. Drink now through 2021.
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.