2008 Rhys "Skyline Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1071399 94 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 A more elegant and refined nose places perhaps even more emphasis on the floral component found in all of the Rhys wines that gives way to highly complex and equally refined middle weight flavors that are quite classy and while there is no lack of power or structure, the tannins are finer, all wrapped in a stunningly long and mineral-infused finish. A very stylish effort that should reward medium to long-term cellaring.  (10/2010)

94 points John Gilman

 As I reported in October, the 2008 Skyline Vineyard Pinot Noir from Rhys is stunning, and one of the most beautiful, dancing bottles of young Pinot that I have ever had the pleasure to taste from California. This is decidedly low octane juice, coming in at only 12.2 percent alcohol, and consequently, it will need a few years in the cellar to soften, as there is not a lot of puppy fat fruit here at this level of ripeness. Six months on from the last time I tasted this superb wine, it is blossoming beautifully, offering up a fine nose of black cherries, dark berries, cola, espresso, a gentle note of vinesmoke and a complex base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, nascently complex and nicely reserved, with fine mid-palate depth, ripe, firm tannins and excellent length and grip on the very classy and cool finish. Great juice in the making- all this needs is a bit of time alone in the cellar! (Drink between 2018-2040)  (6/2011)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The gorgeous 2008 Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard (175 cases from a 3 acre vineyard planted at 2,300 feet of elevation) boasts powdered rock and floral notes intermixed with sweet plum, sassafras, autumnal/forest, dark raspberry, and allspice characteristics. The complex aromatics are followed by a wine with vibrant acidity as well as impressive depth and richness. (RP)  (2/2010)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. Exotic, vibrant aromas of raspberry, Asian spices, fresh herbs and potpourri, all lifted by a mineral nuance. Sharply delineated, classically detailed Pinot that offers a weightless impression of sweetness, spiciness and florality. Firm acids add definition and lift the wine's flavors. Extremely complex Pinot with impeccable balance. Finishes with silky tannins, pungent minerality and lovely lingering perfume. This clocks in at 12.3% alcohol and was fermented completely with whole clusters. (ST)  (6/2010)

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Price: $119.99

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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.


- 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.
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.