2007 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1108261 94 points John Gilman

 I had never tasted the 2007 Horseshoe pinot from Rhys and it is another outstanding bottle in the making. In fact, it is going to be very difficult for a very long time choosing a favorite between the 2007 and the 2008 Horseshoe, as they are both stellar pinots. The nose on the ’07 is a superb and very black fruity mélange of cassis, dark berries, a touch of tariness, bitter chocolate, vinesmoke, very complex soil tones, and a nice touch of cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full and very, very pure, with lovely, nascent complexity, a fine core, ripe, well-integrated tannins and outstanding length and grip on the focused and tangy finish. A very young and very, very classy bottle of pinot. (Drink between 2017-2040) 94+ points  (6/2011)

93 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 This is at once less restrained but more refined with a red and black cherry nose that carries very subtle spice and stone notes over to the very serious, intense, focused and concentrated flavors that are supported by big and robust yet sophisticated tannins that, like the Skyline, are completely buffered by the copious dry extract on the strikingly persistent finish. The dense but fine tannins and the impeccable balance will enable this to age for years and it would be a shame to drink the '07 Horseshoe too young. The estate wines of Rhys Vineyards are made from biodynamically farmed fruit and owner Kevin Harvey, viticulturalist Jason Jardine and winemaker Jeff Brinkman, continue to drive the wines to new heights.  (10/2009)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark red. Powerful, mineral-driven aromas of black raspberry and cherry skin, with slow-mounting floral and spice qualities. Firm, finely etched dark berry flavors are framed by silky tannins, which add focus and back-end grip. The mineral and floral qualities gain strength on the long, alluringly spicy finish. This wine's mineral and cherry character reminded me of a Gevrey grand cru. (ST)  (6/2009)

90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The vineyards are generally tightly spaced (2 by 3 feet for Pinot Noir and 4 by 3 feet for Syrah), and the clonal selections are multiple in order to hopefully achieve more complexity and nuance. This is an impressive, well thought out operation, believing, certainly with Pinot Noir, in whole clusters, no racking, and a minimal, artisinal approach to winemaking. The yields are naturally very small because of the terroirs, rootstocks, and clones, and the wines are made to age. (RP)  (12/2008)

K&L Notes

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."

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Price: $89.99

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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.