2006 Rhys "Alpine Hillside" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1071657 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The top current release of Pinot Noir is undoubtedly the Rhys 2006 Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside (200 cases). An impressive array of black raspberries, blueberries, violets, and crushed rocks soar from the glass of this dark ruby-colored wine. Structured, with moderate tannin, crisp, zesty acidity, and gorgeous purity, this is a sensational Pinot Noir that should evolve for at least a decade or more. (RP)  (12/2008)

92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 A beautifully complex nose features both dark red berry and blue fruit aromas nuanced by hints of herb, anise and a touch of minerality that continues onto the intense, precise, vibrant and serious medium-bodied flavors that possess a lovely and firm texture on the dry finish, which is used in the best sense of the term. This has nothing in common with the lush and opulent style of CA pinot and the texture is actually quite Burgundian with its dusty tannins and delineated mouth feel. A very impressive effort that has both the mid-palate concentration and the balance to age well though note that patience will be required. Drink: 2012+ *Outstanding*  (10/2008)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red. Vivid red berry aromas are complicated by dusty minerals and fresh floral qualities. Crisp and sharply focused, offering racy strawberry and raspberry flavors and tangy minerality. The brisk, clean, long finish offers an energetic berry flavor. An elegant balance of sweetness and vivacity. (JR)  (12/2008)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Serves up a tasty mix of cherry and blackberry fruit that's sleek and refined. Spicy floral scents, dried berry and fine-grained tannins offer a minerally edge. Long, elegant and complex. (JL)  (9/2008)

K&L Notes

Additional comments from Burghound: "The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards made from biodynamically farmed fruit and the Alesia wines (made from carefully selected purchased fruit...) are made by Alpine Road Winery, which is the pet project of owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jason Jardine. I toured the vineyards located in the Santa Cruz Mountains and they are indeed spectacular and if you have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. There are varying percentages of destemming but most wines are made from a high percentage of whole cluster fermentations and as a consequence, the style is a full 180 degrees away from the fruit bomb style that some wineries fashion. These wines are already special but as the vines mature and the Rhys team understands better how to maximize the full potential of their fruit, I predict they will become among the reference standards for pinot noir in CA." (10/2008)

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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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.9