2011 Rhys "Horseshoe Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SKU #1170577 94 points John Gilman

 The 2011 Horseshoe Vineyard Chardonnay from Rhys Vineyards weighs in at a cool and classy thirteen percent alcohol and is a gorgeous example of this fine vintage. The bouquet is deep, complex and nicely reserved, offering up a fine blend of pear, fresh pineapple, a gentle leesiness, orange zest, a beautiful base of soil, a hint of marzipan and a very discreet base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and racy, with a lovely core of fruit, superb focus and nascent complexity, bright acids and excellent length and grip on the very classy finish. If one can imagine a blend of a great example of Chassagne 'la Romanée' and the great chardonnays made at Mount Eden Vineyards in the late 1970s and early 1980s, one can get a feel for the style of this absolutely superb young chardonnay. This wine is eminently drinkable today, but it clearly will gain in complexity with three or four more years of bottle age and should have no troubles cruising at least a dozen years in bottle. Impressive juice!  (6/2013)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (aged for 16 months in oak, 25% of it new): Bright yellow-gold. Explosive aromas of mineral-accented orange, nectarine and white flowers, with a smoky overtone. Taut and sharply focused, showing superb concentration and tension to flavors of crystallized lemon, white peach and chalky minerals. The mineral-driven finish clings with striking tenacity. (ST)  (6/2013)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Like the 2012 Alpine Vineyard, the 2011 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is darker in color than its 2011 counterpart, with slightly more honeyed notes of ripe golden apple, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle and crushed rock all emerging from the glass. Fresh and lively on the palate, with bright acidity, it has solid mid-palate concentration, beautiful tension and vibrancy, and a great finish. I suspect this will age like a top-flight Chablis and have 15 years or more of longevity. (JD)  (4/2015)

93 points Vinous

 A model of precision, finesse and delineation, the 2011 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard bristles with the essence of honey, white truffle, orange peel and nectarine. The 2011 needs a few years to drop some of its baby fat, but the direction it is likely to take becomes apparent with time in the glass. Watching the wine literally become crystalline and pure with air is quite an amazing experience. (AG) 93+  (7/2013)

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Price: $79.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

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.