These are still quite young vines, having only been planted in 2004, but it is quite clear that the Rhys team is keeping a tight rein on yields here and the 2010 Horseshoe syrah is outstanding. It is not quite as soil-driven as the 2010 Skyline syrah (this vineyard does not share the same limestone found at Skyline), but it is every bit as complex and impressive. I love its octane level of 12.8 percent. The superb nose offers up scents of cassis, grilled venison, black olive, pepper, a nice touch of syrah’s medicinal overtones, a bit of vinesmoke and just a hint of oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, pure and nicely transparent, with a fine core, moderate tannins and excellent complexity on the long and impressive finish. Aromatically, this is more along the lines of Cornas (to Skyline’s Côte-Rôtie tilt), but it is lighter on its feet that most Cornas and relies more on intensity of flavor, rather than muscle. It is an excellent wine that is already approachable, but which will really be better with a handful of years in the cellar. Fine juice. Drink between 2013-2035.
The 2014 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) is a new wine from Rhys made from 100% estate fruit from Bearwallow. A preference for fully destemmed fruit gives the 2014 lovely up-front intensity and more early appeal than most of the Rhys Pinots, which is a big plus for consumers. With time in the glass, the wine gains in fleshiness and succulence. Think of the Anderson Valley Pinot like a village-level wine from a top Burgundy domaine. It is the hidden gem in the Rhys lineup. (AG)
The 500-case 2014 Pinot Noir Anderson Valley comes all from the estate's Bearwallow Vineyard, which they've grown from an original six acres planted to now 32 acres in total. Mostly destemmed and aged all in old oak, it offers a spice-laced bouquet of framboise, black raspberries, dried herbs and underbrush to go with a medium-bodied, beautifully textured style on the palate. It's already drinking nicely, but should keep for 5-7 years. (JD)
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