There are three monumental wines in the lineup and the 2016 Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside is one of them. Slightly deeper colored, it tastes like the straight Alpine release, but with the intensity turned all the way up. Thrilling notes of white flowers, forest floor, crushed rocks, and both red and black fruits give way to a medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir that has perfect balance and a layered, powerful, yet incredibly elegant style on the palate. It’s one of the finest Pinot Noir to come from these magical terroirs just south of San Francisco.
Rhys bottles the steepest, stoniest part of their Alpine Vineyard separately in years where the quality merits it and the quantity is sufficient to do so without depriving the regular Alpine bottling of its core, and when they do so, the results are invariably very special indeed. The 2016 Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside Vineyard is stunning, unfurling in the glass with a youthfully reticent but very deep bouquet of cherries, peonies and subtle forest floor. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, tight-knit and concentrated, with immense depth and dimensions and structured around tangy acids and an ample—even rich—chassis of tannin. The finish is long and penetrating. This is going to demand time in the cellar—5 to 6 years at the minimum—and I wouldn't start pulling corks until it reaches its 10th birthday. The 2016 was vinified with 50% whole cluster and matured in 45% new oak.(WK) 97+
The 2016 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard Hillside is powerful and resonant in the glass. There is more depth and concentration than the straight Alpine Pinot, but I am not sure those attributes necessarily equate to higher quality or a more intriguing expression of Pinot. Frankly, I prefer the regular bottling. (AG)
This is aromatically quite similar to the regular Alpine if perhaps just slightly cooler. There is a bit more volume to the somewhat less tightly wound medium weight flavors that offer slightly better richness if not quite the same delineation, all wrapped in a sneaky long finish where the supporting tannins aren't immediately apparent before slowly emerging. I ever-so-slightly prefer the regular Alpine but it's very close, in fact so much so that while I do not employ half points in the pages of Burghound, if I did I would use one here.
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