2011 Rhys "Bearwallow Vineyard" Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid red. Strong raspberry and cherry-cola aromas, with suave floral and Asian spices adding complexity. Silky and very fresh, with impressively focused red fruit flavors and a building note of rose pastille. The persistent, gently tannic finish emphatically repeats the red berry and floral notes and lingers with bright, spicy intensity.
Allen Meadows - Burghound
This is less obviously floral than the Alpine but slightly more aromatically complex with its elegant aromas of violets, plums and red currants. There is really lovely intensity to the delicious middle weight flavors that possess a bit more volume before culminating in a structured, serious and clearly built-to-age finish. Good stuff.
As the Bearwallow bottling is made from purchased grapes in Mendocino, it is usually a touch riper than the wines from the estate’s own vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and this is certainly the case with the 2011, which comes in at a fairly ripe 13.5 percent alcohol in this low octane vintage. Of course, 13.5 percent is still quite low by contemporary standards and the wine is absolutely stellar, soaring from the glass in a beautifully pure and ripe nose of black cherries, a touch of plum, gentle herb tones, espresso, dark soil nuances and a discreet base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and tangy, with very good depth at the core, moderate tannins and lovely length and grip on the youthful finish. A very well-balanced and classy wine, the 2011 Bearwallow will age long and gracefully. This is a really superb bottle of pinot noir, but it does not possess quite the same brilliant inner core of the very best 2011 Rhys pinots. (Drink between 2016-2035) 91+ points
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Like in 2012, the 2011 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard is distinctly different than the Santa Cruz Mountain releases in both its aromatics and texture. Giving up loads of underbrush, juniper berry, lavender, currants and sweet kirsch, it hits the palate with medium-bodied depth and richness, nicely integrated acidity and tannin, and a clean, focused finish that lacks length compared to the 2012. Elegant, upfront, complex and classy, drink it over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)
Sweet tobacco, herbs, licorice and dried black cherries lift out of the glass in the 2011 Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard. Subtle floral and savory notes are woven throughout. The 2011 shows lovely energy and depth, but also the modest structure typical of Anderson Valley Pinots in this vintage. I expect the Bearwallow 2011 will drink well pretty much upon release and for at least a handful of years to follow. This is a terrific showing in a vintage that was very tough in the Anderson Valley. The 2011 was made with 35% whole clusters. (AG)
A dusty mix of dried herb and savory berry is at the core of this balanced effort. Turns dry, with persistent savory-graphite-crushed rock minerality, lending this a juicy aftertaste. Drink now through 2022. (JL)
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, it is suggested that if you're going to buy them, do so with the intent to allow for at least a few years of bottle age.