Rhys Tasting with TNs

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Frank Murray III
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Rhys Tasting with TNs

#1 Post by Frank Murray III » November 10th, 2019, 6:43 pm

This is part 4 of what has been an annual (sort of) event where we get a bunch of Rhys bottles together and pull corks. We had 20 people over yesterday, mainly Wine Berserkers who perhaps can add some thoughts to this post. I had conceived this idea to be just the 2013s, along with the Hillsides, but I decided in flight as I planned the event to let it organically grow and so we ended up getting to see more of the Rhys craft.

For me, and as I get older, there are limits on this kind of format. First off, it's big, but that is intentional as I want to see the Rhys body of work tasted and discussed. Yet, these formats continue to be harder, as I just can't maintain my palate for this many wines, especially as the host when I feel a sincere commitment to mix with people and not geek out with lots of notes. I love to get geeky but what I end up relying on is the next day revisits, which are noted below: these are the leftover wines that remained behind once the party had ended. Ultimately, I do best with my senses being more tuned in with less bottles, so the notes below were written tonight, without food or any other stuff going on around me. Just me, a stem and the wines.

What you will find below are my notes I wrote tonight, so these wines all saw the decant from yesterday, plus the overnight slow ox of air. The 'code' you see on the far right of my additional listing is the bottle #. This is provided for those who attended yesterday, to have the key as to what wines were in which bags. All of the wines were poured blind, with voting done by each person. Essentially, if you liked the wine, you stickered your vote with a colored dot on the back of a numbered tag that was taped in front of each bagged bottle. I added up the votes on each tag at the end of the night and that is what you see listed below.

The 2008 Alpine PN came in first, which attests for me the aging potential of the 2008s. I continue to like both Alpine and Shoe, and also I will need to do another round of the Hillsides to answer the question for myself whether these stand up for the price or not. I did taste again the 2014 Shoe Hillside tonight and it is good, but it has a lot of power and guts that needs to settle. And of note, you will also see from the results that the 2013 Hillside Shoe performed in the top 5.

We took some photos that ended up on Facebook but can't figure out how to share it. Maybe one of you who attended can help do that.

Thanks to all for coming, for Maison for catering, and for a fun afternoon.

RHYS @ MY PLACE--PART 4 - My House (11/10/2019)

All wines tasted blind. Scored with colored tags.
  • NV Pierre Gerbais Champagne l’Audace Brut Nature - France, Champagne
    Opened four Rhys party. Disgorged May 2018, 100% PN, with 2 g/l dosage. Leesy nose, with tangy lemon, red apple, saline and a terrific texture of citrusy intensity. Man, this showed really good, very pleased with this wine.
  • 2013 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    From magnum. Bottle was opened yesterday, with my notes saying aromatics of toast, some marshmallow and elevated, brisk acidity. Retasting 24 hrs later, I can still taste what I perceive as oak notes, with the toasty, vanilla bean that infuses the wine. Putting that aside, there remains the brisk lemon, pear, yellow apple and an intense lime-peel note. There is a spicy quality to the finish, perhaps in part because of the wood and also the ABV, which is not all that high at 13.5%, but when all of the components coalesce in the wine, it does give it an intense, creamy, more flashy side of Rhys Chard. For me, it's a bit too much but this did get 5 votes yesterday during the tasting and it does grab the senses.
  • 2017 Rhys Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. My notes from yesterday say stone fruits, ginger, apple, high acid, with a bright core. Retasting 24 hrs later, what I like about this wine is the core of fruit and the purity it reflects. There is an interesting ginger, green apple, peach flesh combination of flavors, finishing with nectarine and mineral. Medium-weight, listed at 12.5% ABV, this drinks great and can take a place in my cellar as a complement to Chardonnay.
  • 2013 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later, and also alongside the 2013 Horseshoe Chard from yesterday, I do prefer the Alpine. The balance on the Alpine is better, the intensity of the fruit is not competing with the oak. Instead, the bright green apple is joined by flint, some fennel and the acidity of lemon, with a long finish. Intensity, structure, medium weight--it's all nicely built here. I do think there is aging potential here but I also like the way the wine is showing now.
  • 2010 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Bottle was opened yesterday during our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later, and in contrast to the 2013 Horseshoe that we also poured, this doesn't show the oak-like signature I found in that wine. The aromatics here show some beginning signs of age, too. My immediate first impression was caramel. The palate on this is glossier than the 2013, showing a baked apple note, mainly pippin, with the same pear quality of the 2013, too. As the wine warms, a little coconut starts to come through, along with more of the green apple note and the same lime skin quality of the 2013. The finish shows the same spiciness of the 2013, which I wonder about: is that the Horseshoe terroir coming through? Is it the influence of the acidity? Wood? Maybe all of them? The acidity does come through on the wine and I assume you can age this longer but I do think it's in a good spot to drink and enjoy now.
  • 2016 Aeris Wines Etna Bianco Superiore - Italy, Sicily, Etna DOC
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later, the structure and acidity here is noticeable. The tannin and the acids are present, coming through as a mix of mineral and citrus. There is some stone fruit buried here, like a tangy nectarine, along with some saline. A wine that makes me think, and one I'd be curious to try again in a year to see how it is knitting together.
  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Bearwallow Vineyard - USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. Today this drinks as smooth, polished, spicy and generous. It does remind me too of the bottle I opened and posted on back in July, which showed a mix of spices, like pepper and cinnamon. This bottle is consistent with that, too. The spicy note is present in the aromatic, as well as within the fruit showing in the palate. Red apple, dark strawberry, herb, rosemary, cinnamon and spicy finish with some citrusy acids. What I enjoy here is the mix of polished fruit and spicy influences. FWIW, the listed ABV is 13.0% so I'm coming at this from the perspective that the cool spicy notes is the Bear plot, not anything related to alcohol. If the spicy and citrusy notes weren't here, I'd say this is a drink now wine but I do think this wine can age, or be enjoyed now, too.
  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. Aromatics here show a mix of cherry and herb. There is a distinct juicy cherry quality to the palate of this wine. It drinks pure with a lot of polish. There is red apple and the lightest hint of hard cherry candy/compote coming through the finish, with a citrusy acidity and a spicy note, kind of what I would sense from the intensity of cinnamon. And with my cinnamon remark, one might think a relationship to oak or wood--this is not my purpose in using the reference. Whether it's some stem inclusion (the wine is not stemmy, and I do know that the current releases of Horseshoe are all now destemmed), or it's just the plot, this is drinking terrific. There is enough structure hanging around here that I do think the wine will age, but bear in mind again that we opened this 24 hrs ago and it could have softened nicely in that span of time.
  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. In my revisits tonight of some of yesterday's wines, I poured this immediately after the 2013 Horseshoe so I will use that for some context/reference. My immediate impression is I find the Alpine to be richer, more dense than the Horseshoe. Aromatically, this doesn't have the cherry notes and instead seems more brooding, even a touch bloody, with iron and maple, even some pepper. I swear, I am not drinking syrah but the aromatics here remind me some of that varietal. And whereas the Horseshoe is more red fruited, the Alpine seems more darker fruited, a mix of blue with some inflection of red, along with some kiwi. There are broad shoulders here, a wine with more density than the Horseshoe, more power, too. It's fascinating to me how two plots that are so reasonably close together, and made in a similar approach, are reflecting different expressions of depth and flavor. This also reminds me a bit more of the best of what Rivers-Marie does, when you can marry acid and deep fruit. Hell, as I think about it, this could pass for some aspects of say RM Occidental, as it just has that textural and flavor expression. As for aging potential, I actually think the 2013 Horseshoe might age a bit longer but for more immediate pleasure and power, the 2013 Alpine seems to do that right now for me.
  • 2014 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Hillside - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Geez, only one previous TN? I know these are expensive, and likely that, along with the culture of Rhys in terms of people not opening these wines early, is the explanation. Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. I have been buying the Hillsides since they began in 2013, and this is the first time I have tried one. We had both 2013s yesterday, and the 2014s, but with crappy notes on my part in what was a larger event here at the house, this was one of the leftover wines that I saved. This has the cherry aromatic profile of the 2013 Horseshoe that I wrote up earlier. It also has an irony and floral quality, too. The palate? Intense and structured, so if Rhys was after trying to cull out and identify the best pieces of Horseshoe, this shows that feel to me. For more context, I tasted through a handful of Rhys PNs tonight for my notes and this wine was the most coiled of all of them. Yes, it's a 2014 and what I mostly wrote up was 2013, so perhaps you make an argument that one year could make a difference, but I do believe that is not applicable here. This is a dark wine, it shows in the glass and it shows in the structure, too. Like the 2013 Alpine regular PN that I tasted prior to this wine, it's clear to me that same power is here, too. Density, with dark apple, cherry, iron, rocky, powerful. Reminds me of a barrel sample, but without any oak showing here. Some resting time for this wine is going to help allow it to unfold some more and we'll all see what's underneath.
  • 2009 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Premier Cru Grand Cellier Rubis - France, Champagne, Champagne Premier Cru
    Opened yesterday, saving a few ounces under stopper for today. 60% Chard, 40% PN. Disgorged January 2014. Showing a salmon/peach color in the glass. The core of this is like biting into a chilled, ripe strawberry. Wrapping around the red fruit is a leesy note, with orange flesh, yellow apple, mint and a zesty, bright finish. Enjoyed this!
Posted from CellarTracker

WINE Bottle # Votes
08 Alpine PN 13 11
13 Alpine Chard 3 10
08 Bearwallow PN 8 9
07 Alpine Hillside PN 14 9
13 Shoe Hillside 7 8
13 Bear PN 24 8
13 Shoe PN 9 7
13 Shoe PN 19 7
13 Alpine Chard 5 6
07 Shoe PN 15 6
08 Shoe PN 21 6
13 Skyline PN 23 6
16 Aeris 1 5
13 Shoe Chard (MAG) 4 5
13 Alpine Hillside 16 5
13 Home PN 17 5
10 Horseshoe Chard 6 4
13 Family Farm PN 10 4
13 Alpine PN 18 4
03 Alesia Syrah SC 25 4
17 Chenin Blanc Mt Pajaro 2 3
14 Alpine Hillside 11 3
06 Alpine Hillside PN 12 2
13 Swan Terrace PN 20 2
04 Family Farm 26 2
14 Shoe Hillside 22 1
Last edited by Frank Murray III on November 10th, 2019, 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#2 Post by brigcampbell » November 10th, 2019, 7:03 pm

That was a lot of wine... I didn't get to all of them. Had great debate with Andrew, Cris, and Chris as we scratched out notes while huddled around the table together. All excellent palates.

08 Alpine PN was a standout. Spectacular.

All the white wines were incredible. Chenin was dynamite, just in the same bucket as the monsters of Chardonnay.

13 shoe chard was great. A little oaky but the acid to support it.

Hillside... Interesting results.

With that much Pinot my tasting notes starting looking like Richard Jennining's. Very berry, red berry, dark cherry, berry, very very merry quite contrary.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#3 Post by Bryan Cottriel » November 10th, 2019, 7:14 pm

Thanks to Frank and Jill for opening their house for another Rhys tasting. Unfortunately, I opened a fully oxidized 13 Alpine Chardonnay, but the 2nd bottle I opened was singing. Another great event! Here are my notes.

Whites
#4 showing a lot of oak. Round...not a huge fan but good. 13 Shoe? (13 shoe)
#3 Wow nose. Great texture on the palate with good acid. Super balance and drinking very good. 13 Alpine? (13 alpine)
#2 Maybe too cold Nose Green apple...a bit thin. Maybe 17 Alpine?(17 chenin)
#1 Too cold, nose citrus, palate lots of acid, honey, and citrus. Clearly Carricante (16 carricante)
#5 pretty obvious it’s the same as #3. 13 Alpine (13 alpine)
#6 Darker in color, Nose showing a bit of oxidation. Pretty one dimensional, but still very good. Older Alpine? (10 horseshoe)

Pinots
#7 dark, tons of structure...1st guess is skyline or maybe one of the hillsides. Very good.
#8 super stemmy, a lot of structure. Super dark and very big. Could be a you hillside.. pretty much undrinkable (08 bear)
#9 nose muted, dark fruit, a bit of Brett funk. Super nice on the plate. Bright fruit a good amount of structure. Maybe 13 shoe (13 shoe)
#10 nose stemmy, great spice, absolutely beautiful nose, sweet red fruit..13 swan? (13 Family farm)
#11 young very big structure and spice, dark fruit...hillside? (14 hillside)
#12 black fruit and big structure, drinking very young. Maybe skyline? (06 Alpine)
#13 stemmy, big structure, dark fruit...super young, needs time...No idea (08 Alpine)
#14 stemmy nose, bright red fruit palate, some structure it lacking mid palate. No idea (07 alpine hillside)
#15 dark fruit, good balanced structure with great red fruit. It’s drinking well, but is very similarity the last 3. (07 shoe)
Very interesting that 12-15 all tasted similar
#16 earth a touch of Brett. Thin mid palate. Maybe alpine? (13 Alpine Hillside)
#17 light color, beautiful red fruit, structure but no mid palate....it’s lacking in the mid palate. Tastes like an alpine (13 Alpine)
#18 nose...dark fruit, big, beautiful fruit on the palate. Drinking super good. Could be a swan (13 home)
#19 nose dark red fruit, really pretty. Drinking really well right now. Some structure but not much so not sure where this goes from here. (13 shoe)
#20 smells off. Tastes off...no notes (13 swan)
#21 nose dark red fruit and stemmy. Drinking well, but mid palate is very thin. No idea (13 shoe)
#22 big structure. A lot of spice, muted fruit...could be a shoe (13 horseshoe hillside)
#23 Brett ...off.. no notes. (13 skyline)
#24 beautiful nose, wow!! Really good. Beautiful fruit drinking great right now. Not sure where it’s going, but my WOTN (13 Bearwallow)
#25 stemmy dark blue fruit. Weird much different profile then the others. Maybe something old (?) (? Syrah)

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#4 Post by Kris Patten » November 10th, 2019, 7:21 pm

Wow, heck of a tasting. Tariff on Chenin?
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#5 Post by brigcampbell » November 10th, 2019, 7:24 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 7:21 pm
Wow, heck of a tasting. Tariff on Chenin?
Ha! Brian asked me the same question. It's the second time I have tasted and it's terrific. I think there might be blocks of Riesling in that same vineyard...

I do not know $$.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#6 Post by Kris Patten » November 10th, 2019, 7:29 pm

Brig, no worries, my first thought was, why in the world would I buy Rhys Chenin when I can buy Huet....then I realized I have no idea the tariff for Rhys.

I drank thru all my Pinot's and have been working on Chards, have 8 or 10 left. I never found the Pinot moved or really developed nuance I was looking for and I enjoyed them more when they were young. When I factored in price today vs. back in 2005 or so, I just lost the value quotient....and have 2 kids under 4, so had to punt.
Last edited by Kris Patten on November 10th, 2019, 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#7 Post by brigcampbell » November 10th, 2019, 7:32 pm

Kris Patten wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 7:29 pm
Brig, no worries, my first thought was, why in the world would I buy Rhys Chenin when I can buy Huet....then I realized I have no idea the tariff for Rhys.
It won't be $25. LOL.

It's a very good dry chenin.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#8 Post by Francine Haight » November 10th, 2019, 9:38 pm

Thank you Frankie for hosting this awesome tasting and for the great notes! I’m not sure how I post my pics here..but I’ll try!
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#9 Post by Francine Haight » November 10th, 2019, 9:46 pm

Few more pics of peeps in attendance
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#10 Post by Dan Kravitz » November 11th, 2019, 3:26 pm

Hi Frank,

Many thanks for the notes on a fabulous tasting.

Do I understand the scoring? Everybody basically voted up or down on every wine; if up, they put a dot on the bag; if down they didn't?
How many total people attended?

I understand your conflict. Hard to concentrate over that many wines in a crowded (and therefore noisy) environment, but how great to get such a broad range of the wines.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#11 Post by brigcampbell » November 11th, 2019, 3:34 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 3:26 pm

Do I understand the scoring? Everybody basically voted up or down on every wine; if up, they put a dot on the bag; if down they didn't?
How many total people attended?

Dan Kravitz
Hey Dan, much less formal. There were numbered place cards in front of each bottle. if you liked the bottle, you could flip the card over and put a sticker on it then flip it back over. you could put a sticker on every bottle if you wanted or none. I put a sticker on most of the whites, for example. There were people in attendance that didn't put any stickers on because they just wanted to taste and enjoy.

It was interesting feedback when I would put a sticker on a card and it was already loaded up or maybe there were none and I thought the wine was terrific. That said, the really good bottles received lots of stickers.

At the end of the afternoon Frank collected the cards and counted the number of stickers on the backside.

Probably 20 people in attendance

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#12 Post by M. Dildine » November 11th, 2019, 3:38 pm

Great tasting and notes! Thanks guys.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#13 Post by scamhi » November 11th, 2019, 4:25 pm

was there more than one 750ml bottle of each wine?
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#14 Post by Dan Kravitz » November 11th, 2019, 4:48 pm

Brig,

Thanks for verifying the scoring system. I think it's a superbly precise way to score wines in a group tasting. I am not being sarcastic. 20 people milling around, 25 wines out there, everybody votes up if they like it, or ignores it.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » November 11th, 2019, 5:35 pm

scamhi wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:25 pm
was there more than one 750ml bottle of each wine?
Mostly one of each. Which I worried wouldn’t work before we started, but with everyone being experienced and conscientious about it and taking just 1.5 ounces or so, plus so many bottles that most people didn’t get to them all, it strangely worked out just fine.

I don’t think any single bottle was emptied until about 3.5 hours after we got underway, and well after most people were completely wine tasting Rhys.

We had a bunch of bonus bottles afterwards, mostly petit sirah. So there was time for social drinking too.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#16 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » November 11th, 2019, 5:36 pm

Gents, thanks for the notes.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#17 Post by Bill Mauger » November 11th, 2019, 6:13 pm

Sc0tt F!tzger@ld wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:36 pm
Gents, thanks for the notes.
+1

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#18 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 11th, 2019, 6:25 pm

So the big thing I am taking from this is do not open the recent Hillsides wines.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#19 Post by scamhi » November 11th, 2019, 6:47 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:35 pm
scamhi wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:25 pm
was there more than one 750ml bottle of each wine?
Mostly one of each. Which I worried wouldn’t work before we started, but with everyone being experienced and conscientious about it and taking just 1.5 ounces or so, plus so many bottles that most people didn’t get to them all, it strangely worked out just fine.

I don’t think any single bottle was emptied until about 3.5 hours after we got underway, and well after most people were completely wine tasting Rhys.

We had a bunch of bonus bottles afterwards, mostly petit sirah. So there was time for social drinking too.
thanks Chris
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#20 Post by Peter Petersen » November 11th, 2019, 10:57 pm

Sounds like an awesome tasting. Looking forward to popping my last ‘08 Alpine and hoping I’ll qualify for the ‘17 Chenin and ‘16 Ætna Bianco based on Franks notes.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#21 Post by Mike Grammer » November 12th, 2019, 12:14 am

You just need to clone yourself, Frank---one Frank to play genial host and one to continue with what are sensational notes on the next-day wines. Do you remember any TN thoughts on the 08 Alpine PN? I seem to recognize quite a few rogues in the picture gallery there!

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#22 Post by dcornutt » November 12th, 2019, 3:39 am

Nice job guys. Thanks so much for these notes.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#23 Post by Blake Brown » November 12th, 2019, 5:07 am

Well done Frank. I understand the challenge of putting on an event and being responsible to all who attend at the expense of being the geeky note taker such as I am.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#24 Post by Markus S » November 12th, 2019, 5:17 am

Like your innovative scoring method.
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#25 Post by Frank Murray III » November 12th, 2019, 7:13 am

Appreciate all the posts from everyone. This is the 4th one of these we have done. I recall us doing a couple smaller formatted ones earlier in the series and I have mixed feelings about which is better. I like the premise of getting a lot of bottles open, as we can find the gems within the craft, and get the wines into a discussion like this. Or, we go smaller as we did in a few of the previous events and work for more focused discussion around a table--less wines, more focus. I like both and with this one and the last being the big format, I am going to do the next one using the smaller format. Have to think about how to arrange it but likely no more than 8-10 bottles.

The other cool thing about this event, and you can see the folks in the photos above, is that I would have met none of these people without the internet wine forums. Starting with Parker, then now here, all of these people are connected with me because we did events, we took some chances to meet each other and the relationships have lasted and strengthened. I challenge members and people here to do events, to make your world bigger by sharing wine and bringing others into it.

Mike, my TN on the 2008 Alpine is not worth posting. I do recall it being my WOTD but that's it. Clearly, that wine excelled for a # of people and given our scoring system, you had to cheat to see the voting as the stickers were on the back of the bottle tag.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#26 Post by SeanHarding » November 12th, 2019, 9:18 am

I thought this was a great tasting format. The one thing I learned, though (which should have been obvious, but....) is that I needed to be taking my own notes as I went. I thought I would remember which ones I voted for and what I thought of them (and I made no real attempt to remember the ones that I didn't vote for), but by the end it all blended together. Next time I will be more diligent…

Thank for hosting, Frank!

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#27 Post by Chris Seiber » November 12th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Overall impressions:

(1) I don't know if Rhys's chardonnays are "better" than their pinots, but I think in any crowd from geeks to civilians, they are going to make a much bigger impression. Great wines which are both cerebral and delicious. Sometimes the pinots are too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

(2) Patience is the key with the reds. The pinots at 10+ years are usually far better than the younger ones. That's not to say you can't drink and enjoy the younger ones (and depending on the vineyard - Bearwallow seems easier to drink young, for example), but patience is going to be rewarded.

(3) I think, for me, it was too many similar wines, and it was pretty hard for someone of my modest tasting skills and note-taking abilities to keep parsing the distinctions. I'm usually an advocate for blind tasting among wines with some similarities - for example, I see much less value in blind tasting a flight of one Loire Chenin, one Sonoma chardonnay, and one CdP blanc, than in a flight of three wines from one of those categories. But all one producer, mostly one grape, over a large number of bottles, mostly the same vintages . . . it was just very challenging to have a sense of the differences, and it became kind of mentally exhausting.

(4) Frank, and Rhys, really bring some people together. Lots of kind folks, good conversation about Rhys but also many other things, beautiful weather, Frank and Jill's lovely home. Hell of a way to spend an afternoon.

My brief tasting notes. I didn't get to taste all of them. These are in order in which I tried them (which plays some role, I'm sure - me as the taster, the table talk I gradually would hear about wines as the event went on, the amount of air the wines had received, the amount of energy I had to write notes). I did try them all blind, though, except as otherwise noted.

#16 2013 Alpine Hillside: Light bodied, whiff of cinnamon, bit of funk (brett?) on the nose, bay leaf. Savory, light bodied, not much fruit. More interesting than delicious.

#17 2013 Alpine: Less ripe red cherry and cherry skin, lean, tart, pine, bay leaf. Not much fruit showing right now, more acid and chalky tannic structure.

Non-blind 2004 Family Farm: Great nose, sweet cherry, still some stem character, baking spices. Seems to be in the middle of its peak window, very enjoyable. I think others found it bretty, but I did not.

#18 2013 Home: More expansive fruit initially, but then it pulls back. Chalky, structured finish. Not there yet, but I like the potential for the future.

#19 2013 Horseshoe: More tart and fresh, almost a bit sour in the cherry fruit. Pretty nose. Less herbal and complex, but easier to sip and enjoy.

#20 2013 Swan Terrace: Corked.

#21 2008 Horseshoe: Darker cherry, more concentrated. Nicely integrated hints of stem, sage, and pine forest. One of my favorites of the tasting.

#22 2014 Horseshoe Hillside: Broader dark cherry, but very savory and bony the rest of the way. Seemed to have more concentration and weight than most of the other pinots. Probably better in 5-10 years.

#23 2013 Skyline: This was more open and more joyous than most. Dark ripe cherry, dark spice, bay leaf. This had good power and concentration. One of my favorites from the tasting.

#24 2013 Bearwallow: Ripe cherry, red apple, nice baking spice at the finish. More relaxed and less tense than most of the other pinots. Guessed Bearwallow.

#25 2003 Alesia Syrah: Sweet dark fruit, almost overripe (or maybe just that's how it seemed in a lineup of Rhys pinot), liqueur, not really much complexity. Just okay.

#4 2013 Horseshoe Chardonnay: My WOTD. Pleasant earthiness to the nose, salted butter, pineapple, yellow apple, white pepper, medium acid. I think this may have been too obvious of a style for some tasters, but it really hit my sweet spot.

#2 2017 Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro: Banana, yellow apple, kind of rounded and lacking edges or energy. Okay, but not for me. Might have guessed a Rhone white.

#3 2013 Alpine Chardonnay: Beautiful wine, white spice, pineapple , tart green apple, long lemony finish. About equal to the 2013 Horseshoe in quality, but appeals to a little more serious side. Maybe my second most favorite wine of the day.

#1 2016 Aeris Etna Bianco: I didn't really like this bottle (and I loved the 2014, which I've had twice). Lemony tart, some orange peel, but I was distracted by a kind of dishwater minerality that left an unpleasant finish. Entirely possible this was just me, as it seemed in conversation that others liked it just fine.

#5 2013 Alpine Chardonnay (duplicate bottle): Intense, lemony, white spice, tastes young and full of energy. Very good, one of my favorites of the event.

#6 2010 Horseshoe Chardonnay: Melon, honey, light, not really enough "there" there. Decent, but a big step below the other chardonnays. Maybe past its prime?

#13 2008 Alpine: Dark, spicy, good extract, large frame to it, mix of diced herbs complement the generous fruit. One of my favorites from the event.

#7 2013 Horseshoe Hillside: Very savory, lean, minerally. Little fruit, not really fun to drink at this age. Probably needs many years.

#14 2007 Alpine Hillside: Red cherry, red apple, open and tasty, into its prime window.

#15 2007 Horseshoe: Another good one, lots of spice, dark cherry, more masculine, good mix of herbs. Into the early part of its prime window, I think.

#11 2014 Alpine Hillside: More power, more impressive, intense beam of fruit. Chalky tannins, lots of structure. I saw a lot of potential in this, I think in 6+ years this might be a great one. Perhaps the most upside of the pinots, in my opinion.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#28 Post by Cris Whetstone » November 12th, 2019, 8:40 pm

Here are my impressions. Not really doing full CT treatment minus a few exceptions.

A fun tasting. A big range here. Some showed much bigger than I expected but few were as large as what we think of as bigger CA Pinot. A lot of the wines were in funky places. I remember talking to Viet about how he was surprised that revisiting the wines gave him extremely different impressions. I remarked that that is Pinot often. But it's not really what we think of in terms of Cali Pinot. It is in terms of Burgundy. Not making a direct comparison but it is note worthy given that many of these wines were not all that open or seemed a bit awkward.

The quality is apparent as is the craft. Even if I didn't love a lot of these wines I would have to note that I doubt there is another Pinot producer that I could taste such a wide range of wines from and come out with so few wines where the fruit was the biggest show. That's a compliment in my book.

I dropped in some oldies. I think I confused the 04 Fam Farm with the 09. I know the 09 can often not show the brett. This 04 did so I left it unbagged. I'm extremely amused it received any votes. I also brought the 03 Alesia SC Syrah. I had hoped it would be leaner and more subtle. It's still showing like a younger thing full of tar.

Notes in order of my tasting. Wines I voted for are 1,3,5,17,21,7,8,13. 21 Being my fav.

2) 2017 Mt Pajaro Chenin - Sweet honeysuckle nose. Weighty and a bit sweet with a somewhat harsh finish. Seems obviously not Chard now but I didn't make the call at the time.

1) 2016 Aeris Carricante - Stony nose with light straw notes. Mineral and stony. Strong lemon. This came off as definitely not Chard to me. I liked this but didn't find it exceptional.

4) 2013 Horseshoe Chard - Sulury/oak aroma. Rich lemon oil palate. Rougher finish.

6) 2010 Horseshoe Chard - Lots of color like it was quite advanced. Stewed riper fruit. Hints of butterscotch. This really showed advanced. Really makes me wonder about it. I've had older bottles that showed much younger than this.

5) 2013 Alpine Chard - Floral, sweet nose. More reserved on the palate being tight but with refreshing acidity. Voted.

3) 2013 Alpine Chard - Whiff of sulfury oak but Chablis like overall. This was also tight and reserved. Kinda maybe something better on the way. Voted.

16) 2013 Alpine Hillside - Piny/Stemmy but lifting. Elegant and light bodied though drying. Nice but actually came off as basic.

17) 2013 Home - A lopt more color here. Rich nose with a mix of fruit. Touch of mineral. Grippy, tight palate. Good acidity. This seemed more complete. Voted.

18) 2013 Alpine - Stewy nose of ripe fruits. Dark fruits. Drying and a bit watery towards the finish. Guessed might be a Family Farm.

19) 2013 Horseshoe - Cranberry nose. Ripe/baked fruit. Juicy with a light grip. Drank like just a nice Pinot.

20) 2013 Swan Terrace - TCA. Corked.

21) 2008 Horseshoe - Rich, expressive with an herby presence. Young. Minerals. Tannic. My fav at the tasting. Was surprised to be able to take some home. The next night it was consistent from the day before. I noted that it was not harmonious but had fantastic expression.

22) 2014 Horseshoe Hillside - Showing riper, more advanced fruit but then gets subtle. Fat fruited. Wallows a bit. Seemed to want for acid.

23) 2013 Skyline - Bretty nose. Lean and harsh. Bretty and grippy. Biggest shock on the day.

24) 2013 Bearwallow - Sweet baked fruits with subtle minerality. Medium bodied. Fresh acids. A bit wrapped. Nice parts but seemed unintegrated. Looking back I might have voted for this as it seems like there is potential here given a few more years rest.

25) 2003 Alesia Sonoma Coast Syrah - Rubbery, tar nose. Sweet fruit that is comes off younger than I might have guessed.

26) 2004 Family Farm - Bretty and herby. Juicy but too much brett. But it's known for that.

7) 2013 Horseshoe Hillside - Forward nose like a more typical big Cali Pinot. But the palate is fresh and not too big. Nice body with a bit of grip. Voted.

8) 2008 Bearwallow - Reserved nose. Expressive big fruit. Strong tannin. Broad yet with some mineral. I wrote 'good but could be great, needs time'. Ha! Voted. Maybe the most impressive surprise on the day.

9) 2013 Horseshoe - Dirty, herby nose. Maybe a whiff of brett. Slightly stewed fruits. Juicy fresh with lots of acid. Nice build. Mixed bag.

10) 2013 Family Farm - Complex nose. Floral, mineral, herbs. Juicy palate with not much going on. But great nose. Notable looking back.

11) 2014 Alpine Hillside - Big nose with green stems. Juicy with some grip. Took some home. Night two shows some mineral. Still grippy but lean and balanced. Touch of citrus peel.

12) 2006 Alpine Hillside - Rich with lots of color. Expressive nose. Sweetish fruit but notes of mineral. Nice structure with late tannin. I wrote it needs time to integrate. Ha!

13) 2008 Alpine - Blackberries, mineral, touch of asparagus. But subtle nose overall. Dark fruit but with a glassy feel. Lots of grip. I wrote good potential but young!! Voted. Second fav on the day.

14) 2007 Alpine Hillside - Baked fruit. Stems. Lean feel. Grip around the outside. Doesn't really come together. The stems seem omnipresent.

15) 2007 Horseshoe - Reserved nose. Touch of stems. Narrow and wrapped up. Dark fruited with grip. Tight. Some potential.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#29 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » November 12th, 2019, 10:15 pm

Sad to have missed this event, but I'm really appreciating the notes, everyone. Thank you!
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#30 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 13th, 2019, 3:42 am

Cris,

It’s interesting to me that baked/stewy shows up in so many of your 2013 Pinot notes. Worrisome.
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Frank Murray III
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#31 Post by Frank Murray III » November 13th, 2019, 7:52 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 3:42 am
Cris,

It’s interesting to me that baked/stewy shows up in so many of your 2013 Pinot notes. Worrisome.
David, I finished both the 2013 Alpine and Shoe Pinots last night before dinner, both open since Saturday AM, and neither showed anything stewed or baked. You don't need to be worried, IMO. I edited within CT as I retasted both wines last night, with the comments being what you see at the end portion of each TN. I respect Cris' palate and can't argue if he perceived the wines as he did but this is not my tasting impression of them.
  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (11/10/2019)
    Rhys @ My Place--Part 4 (My House): Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. In my revisits tonight of some of yesterday's wines, I poured this immediately after the 2013 Horseshoe so I will use that for some context/reference. My immediate impression is I find the Alpine to be richer, more dense than the Horseshoe. Aromatically, this doesn't have the cherry notes and instead seems more brooding, even a touch bloody, with iron and maple, even some pepper. I swear, I am not drinking syrah but the aromatics here remind me some of that varietal. And whereas the Horseshoe is more red fruited, the Alpine seems more darker fruited, a mix of blue with some inflection of red, along with some kiwi. There are broad shoulders here, a wine with more density than the Horseshoe, more power, too. It's fascinating to me how two plots that are so reasonably close together, and made in a similar approach, are reflecting different expressions of depth and flavor. This also reminds me a bit more of the best of what Rivers-Marie does, when you can marry acid and deep fruit. Hell, as I think about it, this could pass for some aspects of say RM Occidental, as it just has that textural and flavor expression. As for aging potential, I actually think the 2013 Horseshoe might age a bit longer but for more immediate pleasure and power, the 2013 Alpine seems to do that right now for me....retasting from Saturday's bottle that was opened three days ago. Continues to cruise right along with a deep cherry imprint, soil, structure and length. This is a complex, young wine that is going to do some great aging.
  • 2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (11/10/2019)
    Rhys @ My Place--Part 4 (My House): Bottle was opened yesterday for our Rhys event. Retasting 24 hrs later for this note, the bottle sat open overnight with just the cork as closure. Tasting at room temp of 70f. Aromatics here show a mix of cherry and herb. There is a distinct juicy cherry quality to the palate of this wine. It drinks pure with a lot of polish. There is red apple and the lightest hint of hard cherry candy/compote coming through the finish, with a citrusy acidity and a spicy note, kind of what I would sense from the intensity of cinnamon. And with my cinnamon remark, one might think a relationship to oak or wood--this is not my purpose in using the reference. Whether it's some stem inclusion (the wine is not stemmy, and I do know that the current releases of Horseshoe are all now destemmed), or it's just the plot, this is drinking terrific. There is enough structure hanging around here that I do think the wine will age, but bear in mind again that we opened this 24 hrs ago and it could have softened nicely in that span of time.....retasting the wine from Saturday, as I still have a few ounces leftover. So, this has been open over 3 days. What I get now are some stems, cranberry, deep flavor of strawberry and 5 spice/cinnamon. This is good but it will need time for the residual wood to settle (as that's how I interpret the brown spice flavors) and also some of the herbal quality.
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My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#32 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » November 13th, 2019, 7:59 am

Thanks Frank.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#33 Post by brigcampbell » November 13th, 2019, 8:05 am

Side by side after 3 days. The '13 apline shows much more stem or oak and lots of structure. The horseshoe had notes of distinct red apple. both were delicious. And my wife loved the Chennin.

Wines with good acid can sit out for days.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#34 Post by larry schaffer » November 13th, 2019, 8:27 am

Thanks for the notes, all - and I wish more bottles were left open for multiple days and reported on for comparison sake. 'Stewed' flavors on day 1 certainly can mellow out over time - but if they are on day 1, they are there. A 'challenge' here is that not everyone will allow these wines to sit as long as Frank and Brig do.

I agree with you, Frank, that these types of tastings are always a challenge. Too many wines lead to difficult truly discerning them, especially if they are more similar than different which sounds like the case here, and even moreso when you're socializing at the same time. If I were taking notes - and I rarely do - I would prefer smaller tastings with fewer bottles for sure.

The tasting kind of reminds me of Falltacular, which I'm looking forward to taking part in once again. With well over 100 bottles open, it really is difficult to 'concentrate' on all of them - and so I don't. I quickly tasted a range of wines and then spend the rest of the time socializing. The big difference between a tasting like that, though, and this tasting is the sheer variety of wines being opened. Differences are clearer across vintages/producers vs comparing all wines from the same producer.

Thanks again all . . .
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#35 Post by Chris Seiber » November 13th, 2019, 11:31 am

Cris Whetstone wrote:
November 12th, 2019, 8:40 pm
The quality is apparent as is the craft.
I wish I had remembered to make this point in my earlier post. Regardless of the extent to which certain bottles of these may be more or less your thing, there is no doubting the earnest and diligent commitment to quality at Rhys.

And "commitment to quality" doesn't mean more of everything, more oak, more ripeness, more power. It means a commitment to produce excellent wines with balance, complexity, the ability to improve with age, and reflection of their terroir. And to provide top notch customer service.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#36 Post by Mike Grammer » November 13th, 2019, 12:20 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 8:27 am
Thanks for the notes, all - and I wish more bottles were left open for multiple days and reported on for comparison sake. 'Stewed' flavors on day 1 certainly can mellow out over time - but if they are on day 1, they are there. A 'challenge' here is that not everyone will allow these wines to sit as long as Frank and Brig do.

Thanks again all . . .
Agreed my friend. I did try to lure people in...


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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#37 Post by Cris Whetstone » November 13th, 2019, 12:20 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 3:42 am
Cris,

It’s interesting to me that baked/stewy shows up in so many of your 2013 Pinot notes. Worrisome.
Well as Frank is the final word I guess you don't have to worry. [wink.gif]

I notice that note in Pinot a lot from riper climates. It might be just how I express the fruit. It might be something I'm more sensitive to.

I don't think any of these wines showed the sort of ripeness that left them completely hollow. But I do think they show their terroir.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#38 Post by Frank Murray III » November 13th, 2019, 12:53 pm

I took a walk today and was thinking about all the feedback here, as well as what I discussed with Brian Bohr during the event, too. I have decided to put on another event, but will pull back on the total bottles, which will also affect attendance count, unfortunately. I will send out a note to all those attended last weekend, and we'll just pick a date and let it land with 8 total seats, which to me seems like the right number.

Ultimately, I don't want to throttle back on inclusion, as the premise of involving people and connecting is important to me but I just have come to the point where doing 20+ bottles isn't effective anymore for an assessment of things like we sought, at least for me. We'll do one vintage, tackle the wines of that range, and then have one table that we share where we can discuss differences and themes of those wines. I'll do it in January once the holidays are over.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

Kindness matters.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#39 Post by Viet Ly » November 13th, 2019, 1:55 pm

Thanks again to Frank and Jill for hosting and also to everyone for their contributions. I had a great time and felt lucky to attend this event and spend time with a great group of people. Disclaimer on my notes here: I am not experienced with big tastings (or even wine compared to many others on here lol). I powered through the wines (from 1 to 26), in 1-2 ounce pours which only gave me 2-3 sips/chances to get a quick impression on the wine. I enjoyed almost all of the wines with the exception of the flawed wines. My call outs of the night were 5 / 10 / 14 / 17 / 21 which I revisited with food and was able to really enjoy myself and socialize a bit more. Ultimately my favorite white was the 2013 Alpine Chard. I loved how the fruit and oak treatment worked together to create something beautiful, balanced with acid and a great finish. My favorite red wine was the 2007 Alpine Hillside PN. I thought it was in such a good spot for drinking. A wonderful nose with those alluring notes that only come with age. Pretty red/PN fruit (which I prefer over darker fruit in PN). Integrated tannin that doesn't punish you for taking another sip... so good. WOTD? I enjoyed the chard more with the chicken but I enjoyed the pinot more on it's own. This is a big shift for me. Two years ago it would be hard for me to think that I'd vote for a white wine over red.

STARTERS (Non blind)
NV Pierre Gerbais Champagne l’Audace Brut Nature: Apples and lemon accented with light floral notes and a citrus finish, fine bubbles, no oxidative notes. What a nice refreshing start to the event.
Loring Rose Sparkling wine: some VA notes, pinot flavors, a little sweet for me.

WHITES
1) 2016 Aeris Carricante - lemon, light density/texture, high acid
2) 2017 Mt Pajaro Chenin - tropical notes caught me by surprise, rich fruit
3) 2013 Alpine Chard - sulfer nose, chard flavors with that flint/match stick thing going on, med texture, good acid to balance, persistent finish. Favorite so far.
4) 2013 Horseshoe Chard - brighter/cleaner fruit, less oak? and less dense than #3, I preferred #3
5) 2013 Alpine Chard - there was one pair of bottles that repeat in the white flight, and I guessed it was 3 and 5. I thought this bottle was a bit more open for business and voted for this bottle after I tasted #6.
6) 2010 Horseshoe Chard - this wine felt less vibrant than the ones prior, not bad but overshadowed by #3/5

REDS PART I:
7) 2013 Horseshoe Hillside - Off to the races with the reds. Loved the nose on this, very aromatic/expressive with hints of pine. Denser red fruits here compared to some of the others. Good balance of acid/grip.
8) 2008 Bearwallow - Darker fruit that #7, with very strong tannins. I'm surpised by the reveal, thought it was a younger wine, maybe a hillside (nope).
9) 2013 Horseshoe - I guessed this was one of the younger wines due to the high tannin.
10) 2013 Family Farm - Nose had a lot going on, fruit/pepper/roses but the taste was less espressive. I guessed this wine was one of the older bottles (nope). I had a star on my notes for this one, but ultimately voted for #14.
11) 2014 Alpine Hillside - This wine felt closed, would be nices to see what it turns into with time.
12) 2006 Alpine Hillside - Fruitier than the wines before and fairly easy going/open for business. Tannins integrated (esp after #11). The reveal makes sense.
13) 2008 Alpine - Darker fruit with a hint of licorice. Denser in texture, less tannic than some of the prior wines.
14) 2007 Alpine Hillside - Loved the nose on this and back to red fruit highlighted with acid. Drinking really well right now and my WOTD.
15) 2007 Horseshoe - Nose on this wine was nice but compared to #14 this wine was more tannic and less expressive.

REDS PART II:
16) 2013 Alpine Hillside - darker fruit with stronger tannin, not ready
17) 2013 Home - really pretty nose violets, red fruit hightlighted with spices, drinking well. Had a star next to this one but ultimately voted for #21
18) 2013 Alpine - Darker fruit with tannin again
19) 2013 Horseshoe - Lighter red fruit, a good wine but did not stand out for me
20) 2013 Swan Terrace - Flawed (corked)
21) 2008 Horseshoe - This got my vote for this flight for it's delicious and espressive red fruits, nice texture/finish. There were other wines that were more interesting but this one was nice to sit back and relax with on the revisit with food.
22) 2014 Horseshoe Hillside - I wrote the acid was out of balance for my small taste
23) 2013 Skyline - Flawed (brett), milder than #26
24) 2013 Bearwallow - Good wine, but did not stand out to me (with my small taste)
25) 2003 Alesia Sonoma Coast Syrah - My least favorite/outlier from this flight. The fruit/texture was a lot denser, I wrote "simple" fruit and felt that it was not as stimulating/complex as the other bottles.
26) 2004 Family Farm - Flawed (brett), more so than #23

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#40 Post by Bryan Cottriel » November 13th, 2019, 7:56 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 12:53 pm
I took a walk today and was thinking about all the feedback here, as well as what I discussed with Brian Bohr during the event, too. I have decided to put on another event, but will pull back on the total bottles, which will also affect attendance count, unfortunately. I will send out a note to all those attended last weekend, and we'll just pick a date and let it land with 8 total seats, which to me seems like the right number.

Ultimately, I don't want to throttle back on inclusion, as the premise of involving people and connecting is important to me but I just have come to the point where doing 20+ bottles isn't effective anymore for an assessment of things like we sought, at least for me. We'll do one vintage, tackle the wines of that range, and then have one table that we share where we can discuss differences and themes of those wines. I'll do it in January once the holidays are over.

I completely agree with this. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of all of these tastings and I thought the first 2 were the best format. We sat down at the big table and got to taste though a focused group of wines for a good amount of time. This allowed the wines to evolve properly and time for us to discuss them as a group.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#41 Post by Alan Rath » November 13th, 2019, 8:14 pm

Been meaning to post notes from a dinner a bunch of Bay Area Berserkers did back in September. Kevin joined us, and offered a unique and special bottle: 2001 Pinot Home Vineyard. I'll drop these in here, unless Frank tells me to get my own thread ;)

2011 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite nice, bit of toast on the palate, nice medium richness, good length, holding quite well with just a touch of development. (92 pts.)

2010 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite rich, opulent, good acidity and balance, rich umami finish, has the tropical note I find in Rhys chards of the middle period. (93 pts.)

2006 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Good color, quite rich, very rich, nice umami, good acidity. I think this is a great representation of the Rhys style, vintage, and evolution in the wines. More recent vintages are just a little less flamboyant, and more reserved. (91 pts.)

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Delicious, beautifully rich but controlled fruit, not quite the tropical opulence of the older Rhys Chards we drank alongside, great acidity, mild umami notes. Fabulous. (93 pts.)

2001 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay (9/17/2019)
Lightly earthy nose, very nice deep dark raspberry fruit, with lovely light leather and spice notes, excellent acidity, nice complexity and medium length. What a lovely wine, one of the first (the first?) vintages, made in Kevin's garage. With only a few bottles left, a real honor to be shown this wine. (92 pts.)

2019-09-17 19.14.50.jpg

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Light stem and that slightly old clothes closet note on the nose, then rich, deep dark raspberry fruit, strong acidity, quite rich, tasty, with a slight sweet note on the finish; still very youthful, can go for years.

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Wow, gorgeous deep black cherry/raspberry, stem spice is background for some nice complexity, terrific balance, still quite young but very drinkable. Fabulous. (93 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Lovely light spice/earth nose, beautiful dark raspberry and black cherry palate, more of those wonderful light spice notes, great complexity and balance. (94 pts.)

2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Nice dark cherry and raspberry fruit, hints of spice, more open and forward than the 07 and 08, very nice but not quite the tension and complexity of those two vintages. (92 pts.)

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
More obvious stems on the nose than the 07-09, bit of green showing through, fairly rich, more forward, good balance, maybe the most drinkable of the early Swans but a bit less interesting. (91 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Dark raspberry with some black cherry, touch more brooding and grippy than the Swan and Horseshoe, this has so much beautiful complexity, and needs years to really show. Leave this one alone, it should be amazing with time. (94 pts.)

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Very rich, voluptuous, slight sweet nose, good acidity, but maybe just a bit "too much" of everything for my palate. (90 pts.)

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Big and rich, voluptuous, quite rich, round, just a bit too much intensity here, hides the finesse and complexity I expect from a Rhys. I can see why this made the Hillside bottling, but it goes just a bit too far. (91 pts.)

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite rich and intense, the Alpine terroir is here, but amplified in this vintage to 11. Almost too much, needs a big steak! (92 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Such beautiful dark raspberry fruit, great balance and lovely complexity. (93 pts.)

2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Fairly rich dark fruit, good balance and acidity, this consistent with the Rhys "middle period", and the warmer vintage. Very nice. (91 pts.)

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
The nose on this is different from earlier vintage Alpines, showing some definite sweet and ripe character. That comes across on the palate, this is the ripest of the 06-10 Alpines, and comes across a bit on the simple side as well. (88 pts.)

2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Nice, slightly softer, has the dark raspberry of the mountain vineyards, but shows the now trademark higher toned strawberry notes of Horseshoe. (91 pts.)

2019-09-17 19.58.33.jpg
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#42 Post by Todd F r e n c h » November 13th, 2019, 8:28 pm

Wow, what a collection of notes! Sorry I missed it, but I was busy at the 'snow globe' game!

I'm hopefully in next time!
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#43 Post by R M Kriete » November 14th, 2019, 8:03 am

Frank Murray III wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 12:53 pm
I took a walk today and was thinking about all the feedback here, as well as what I discussed with Brian Bohr during the event, too. I have decided to put on another event, but will pull back on the total bottles, which will also affect attendance count, unfortunately. I will send out a note to all those attended last weekend, and we'll just pick a date and let it land with 8 total seats, which to me seems like the right number.

Ultimately, I don't want to throttle back on inclusion, as the premise of involving people and connecting is important to me but I just have come to the point where doing 20+ bottles isn't effective anymore for an assessment of things like we sought, at least for me. We'll do one vintage, tackle the wines of that range, and then have one table that we share where we can discuss differences and themes of those wines. I'll do it in January once the holidays are over.
What about multiple groups of 8, each "confined" to their own table for the formal tasting? Then, let everyone walk around and be social. Any other wines tasted from the other groups' tables would be merely informal. That way, no one gets left out, but the # of wines you can seriously focus on is effectively limited.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#44 Post by Bryan Price » November 15th, 2019, 3:40 pm

I always enjoy the photos - one of these days I'll learn how to upload a pic. I like Rhys wines quite a bit, and have realized that the Chardonnays are quite special, and Santa Cruz fruit overall also is outstanding.
Life's too short to drink bad wine.

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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#45 Post by G. Bienstock » November 19th, 2019, 7:24 am

In contrast to Alan R's bottle of 2011 Horseshoe Chardonnay, a bottle I opened last week was advanced in color and character and heading down hill fast. Nothing like a fine bottle opened last year. Very disappointing.
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Re: Rhys Tasting with TNs

#46 Post by Chris Seiber » November 19th, 2019, 9:10 am

Alan Rath wrote:
November 13th, 2019, 8:14 pm
Been meaning to post notes from a dinner a bunch of Bay Area Berserkers did back in September. Kevin joined us, and offered a unique and special bottle: 2001 Pinot Home Vineyard. I'll drop these in here, unless Frank tells me to get my own thread ;)

2011 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite nice, bit of toast on the palate, nice medium richness, good length, holding quite well with just a touch of development. (92 pts.)

2010 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite rich, opulent, good acidity and balance, rich umami finish, has the tropical note I find in Rhys chards of the middle period. (93 pts.)

2006 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Good color, quite rich, very rich, nice umami, good acidity. I think this is a great representation of the Rhys style, vintage, and evolution in the wines. More recent vintages are just a little less flamboyant, and more reserved. (91 pts.)

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Delicious, beautifully rich but controlled fruit, not quite the tropical opulence of the older Rhys Chards we drank alongside, great acidity, mild umami notes. Fabulous. (93 pts.)

2001 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay (9/17/2019)
Lightly earthy nose, very nice deep dark raspberry fruit, with lovely light leather and spice notes, excellent acidity, nice complexity and medium length. What a lovely wine, one of the first (the first?) vintages, made in Kevin's garage. With only a few bottles left, a real honor to be shown this wine. (92 pts.)


2019-09-17 19.14.50.jpg


2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Light stem and that slightly old clothes closet note on the nose, then rich, deep dark raspberry fruit, strong acidity, quite rich, tasty, with a slight sweet note on the finish; still very youthful, can go for years.

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Wow, gorgeous deep black cherry/raspberry, stem spice is background for some nice complexity, terrific balance, still quite young but very drinkable. Fabulous. (93 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Lovely light spice/earth nose, beautiful dark raspberry and black cherry palate, more of those wonderful light spice notes, great complexity and balance. (94 pts.)

2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Nice dark cherry and raspberry fruit, hints of spice, more open and forward than the 07 and 08, very nice but not quite the tension and complexity of those two vintages. (92 pts.)

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
More obvious stems on the nose than the 07-09, bit of green showing through, fairly rich, more forward, good balance, maybe the most drinkable of the early Swans but a bit less interesting. (91 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Skyline Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Dark raspberry with some black cherry, touch more brooding and grippy than the Swan and Horseshoe, this has so much beautiful complexity, and needs years to really show. Leave this one alone, it should be amazing with time. (94 pts.)

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Very rich, voluptuous, slight sweet nose, good acidity, but maybe just a bit "too much" of everything for my palate. (90 pts.)

2006 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Hillside - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Big and rich, voluptuous, quite rich, round, just a bit too much intensity here, hides the finesse and complexity I expect from a Rhys. I can see why this made the Hillside bottling, but it goes just a bit too far. (91 pts.)

2007 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Quite rich and intense, the Alpine terroir is here, but amplified in this vintage to 11. Almost too much, needs a big steak! (92 pts.)

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Such beautiful dark raspberry fruit, great balance and lovely complexity. (93 pts.)

2009 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Fairly rich dark fruit, good balance and acidity, this consistent with the Rhys "middle period", and the warmer vintage. Very nice. (91 pts.)

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
The nose on this is different from earlier vintage Alpines, showing some definite sweet and ripe character. That comes across on the palate, this is the ripest of the 06-10 Alpines, and comes across a bit on the simple side as well. (88 pts.)

2013 Rhys Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/17/2019)
Nice, slightly softer, has the dark raspberry of the mountain vineyards, but shows the now trademark higher toned strawberry notes of Horseshoe. (91 pts.)


2019-09-17 19.58.33.jpg
That's great. I think your successes with those bottles continues to speak to what I observed in Frank's recent tasting, which is that you're generally rewarded if you have the patience to let these pinots get to 8+ years old.

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