2012 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1204862 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Ruby-red. Explosively perfumed cherry-cola, dark berry liqueur, incense and mineral aromas show superb clarity and depth, with a sexy floral quality building with air. Offers palate-staining black raspberry and spicecake flavors that become sweeter and deeper with air. This rich but strikingly lithe and tensile pinot deftly plays power and depth off of vivacity and finishes sweet, youthfully tannic and extremely long. One of the most impressive Pinots I've tasted from the New World, or Burgundy for that matter, in quite a while. (ST)  (5/2014)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A ripe, layered effort that took plenty of air time to come together (I followed all of these wines over two days), the 2012 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard offers gorgeous cherry and raspberry-like notes to go with ample spice-box, dried flowers and smoky characteristics on the nose. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and elegant, it has solid mid-palate density, bright acidity and a big finish. This seemed slightly soft right on opening, but when I came back to the bottle a few hours later, it has come together brilliantly. 94+ (JD)  (4/2015)

94 points Vinous

 Racy and explosive to the core, the 2012 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard hits the palate with a compelling melange of dark red and black stone fruits, cloves, new leather and menthol. Here the style is all about voluptuousness and texture, two qualities the 2012 has in spades. The Horseshoe was fermented with 20% whole clusters, but they are barely evident given the wine's pure intensity and volume. This full-bodied, exceptionally balanced Pinot from Rhys is striking from start to finish. (AG)  (7/2014)

91 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 *Outstanding* Once again there is an all but invisible touch of wood setting off the cool, elegant and complex nose that is composed of dark cherry, raspberry, floral, tea and spice nuances. There is a lovely sense of energy to the well-delineated and beautifully refined flavors that possess a dusty mouth feel before terminating in a balanced and delicious finish that is subtly persistent. Here too there is a subtle hint of warmth but it is sufficiently slight that is does not affect the overall sense of harmony.  (1/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 400 m from Alpine Vineyard but very different - protected from ocean winds and on a ridge of sedimentary shale called Monterey formation. Very intense and bold yet tightly laced. Almost fizzy. Great excitement and richness. (17.5/20 points)  (2/2015)

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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.