Rhys Vineyards Alpine Vineyard Pinot Noir (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2012
From its steep and rocky perch, Alpine Vineyard gazes at the Pacific Ocean 10 miles in the distance. The chalky Purisima Formation soils are shallow and rocky while the slopes can range up to 40%. The altitude and proximity to the ocean contribute to a very cool climate, but unlike most of California’s cool and foggy sites Alpine has little wind. This unique combination of climate and soil produces wines that do not taste like any other Pinot Noir in the world.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Coming from a site close to where the Horseshoe Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from, the 2012 Pinot Noir Alpine Vineyard is more structured in 2012, with beautiful balance and focus in its whole cluster-influenced bouquet of Asian spices, smoked earth, black cherry and big mineral-like characteristics. Firm, tight, edgy and backwards, with good acidity and a medium to full-bodied, structured palate, this smoking Pinot Noir needs short-term cellaring, but will be long-lived. Rating: 93+
At Rhys Vineyards we aspire to make great Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from some of California’s most unique and expressive vineyards. This pursuit has led us to search the state for exciting rocky soils that exist within the mountainous, cool, Coastal climate zone. Over the last 15 years we have developed seven estate vineyards, six in the Santa Cruz Mountains and one in Anderson Valley, each of which is capable of producing uniquely compelling, distinctive, soil driven wine.
Their overriding belief that unique vineyard expression is the key to truly great wine leads them to an approach that includes: 1. A relentless, spare-no-expense, focus on producing the best possible fruit in the vineyard; 2. Carefully selected cool weather sites that offer interesting and expressive soil character; 3. Natural winemaking with minimal intervention. These core tenets help produce age-worthy wines that emphasize vineyard expression, balance, fresh fruit, and concentration.
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”