Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Rhys Vineyards’ owner Kevin Harvey and winemaker Jeff Brinkman fashion a bevy of brilliant Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrah from a diverse set of mostly estate vineyards. While Kevin made wine in his garage starting around 1995, it wasn’t until 2001 that he decided to create Rhys Vineyards. He set out with the goal to find hillside sites in California that were similar to those in Burgundy. All of his new sites favor high-density plantings (in some cases upwards of 17,000 vines per acres) of suitcase Pinot Noir clones, and they’re all farmed biodynamically by the team at Rhys. The vineyards ranged in elevation from 400-2300 feet, had cool microclimates, and also very distinct soils, which was a critical element in Harvey’s plans: He wanted to see if he could craft wines that somehow reflected these differences. His goal was to make Rhys a laboratory of terroir. The vineyards were farmed biodynamically, and the winemaking regimen, overseen by Jeff Brinkman, was uniform across all the vineyards—mostly whole-cluster fermentations, natural yeasts, limited use of new oak— in the belief that this would isolate and accentuate the soil expression. The results have been pinch-me brilliant. The Rhys wines are hypnotically good—crisp, poised, succulent, with sensational minerality and structure. Deceptively pale in color, the best Pinots often are they are also astonishingly low in alcohol: Some of them clock in under 13 percent. What makes the wines even more impressive is that they share all of these qualities yet are strikingly different from one another.
Garnet red in color. This bouquet starts out quite savory with aromas of earth, tobacco leaf and oak. The ebullient blackberry, pomegranate and black cherry fruits have a smoky, tobacco underpinning. The finish is remarkable, very appealing elegance and length with impressive fruit intensity and finish. Very silky and seamless with crisp vibrant acidity.