2012 Rhys "Alpine Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1199351 95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid ruby-red. Intensely perfumed, mineral-driven red berry, blood orange and potpourri aromas are complemented by deeper-pitched notes of cola and smoky Indian spices. Sweet, focused and light on its feet, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a silky, seamless texture. The mineral quality comes back on the endless finish, which is strikingly pure, focused and gently tannic. I was reminded of a high-end Chambolle-Musigny when I tasted this balanced but intensely flavored wine and suspect that it will age slowly and gracefully over at least the coming decade. (ST)  (5/2014)

94 points Vinous

 The 2012 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard is one of the more reticent, backward wines in the range today. Firm tannins provide the underlying framework for an impeccable, pure Pinot long on crystalline energy and intensity. The flavors really pulsate here, while expressive floral and savory overtones add an attractive upper register. This is a rare 2012 that is going to need at least a few years in bottle to show at its best. The Alpine was done with 50% whole clusters. 94+ (AG)  (7/2014)

93 points John Gilman

 The 2012 Alpine Vineyard has also turned out superbly well in this vintage, as the wine delivers a pure and complex nose of black cherries, fresh thyme, cigar smoke, espresso, stony soil tones and a lovely mix of savory elements in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and nicely reserved in personality, with fine soil signature, lovely concentration at the core, well-measured tannins and a very long, tangy and first rate finish. All this beauty needs is some time in the cellar to allow its secondary layers of complexity to begin to emerge. Fine, fine juice. (Drink between 2019-2045) 93+ points  (8/2014)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Coming from a site close to where the Horseshoe Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from, the 2012 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard is more structured in 2012, with beautiful balance and focus in its whole cluster-influenced bouquet of Asian spices, smoked earth, black cherry and big mineral-like characteristics. Firm, tight, edgy and backwards, with good acidity and a medium to full-bodied, structured palate, this smoking Pinot Noir needs short-term cellaring, but will be long-lived. 93+ (JD)  (4/2015)

92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 A subtle application of wood blends into the ripe plum and dark raspberry suffused nose where again there are pretty floral and spice notes. There is fine verve and a more elegant mouth feel to the delicious and relatively round medium weight flavors that possess fine depth and really lovely balance on the lingering finish. I really like the delivery as it's lacy but serious and like the straight pinot noir this should drink well young yet age effortlessly thanks to the impeccably good balance. (Drink starting 2020)  (1/2015)

Jancis Robinson

 Faces the Pacific. Racy and fresh with a really appetising green, but not unripe, streak. Super-clean finish with massive energy. 18/20 points (JR)  (2/2015)

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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.