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!
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