A step up over the Anderson Valley release, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Alesia gets fruit from five of the six single vineyards (no Skyline fruit) and it offers a sensational bouquet of ripe cherries, currants, rose petals, conifer trees, and sappy flowers. Complex, medium-bodied, elegant, and seamless, it’s a beautiful, beautiful wine that unquestionably plays in the same league as the single vineyards.
The 2016 Santa Cruz Mountains bottling under the Alesia label is also nicely cool and vibrant, with the same alcohol level of 12.9 percent of the Anderson Valley example. The wine is a bit more black fruity and quite a bit more mineral in profile than the lovely Anderson Valley cuvée, offering up a fine bouquet of sweet dark berries, black cherries, woodsmoke, a hint of gamebird, raw cocoa and a superb base of stony minerality. On the palate the wine is precise, full and marvelously tangy, with a fine mid-palate depth, lovely backend mineral drive, moderate tannins and a long, complex and very classy finish. This does not have the same dimension as the top Santa Cruz Mountain bottlings of Pinot under the Rhys label, but it is very easy to see that they all share the same vineyard pedigree. Just a beautiful bottle. 91+
The 2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains) is a terrific appellation-level wine. Lifted and gracious, with terrific energy and cut, the 2016 is super-expressive today. Bright red cherry, orange peel, mint and chalky notes give the 2016 is attractive aromatic top notes to play off the wine's energetic personality. The 2016 includes all the fruit from Rhys's new Mt. Pajaro vineyard. (AG)
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