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Rhys Vineyards Rhys Swan Terrace Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • RP92
0% ABV
  • RP96
  • RP95
  • RP95
  • RP93
  • V92
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

An elegant and sophisticated Pinot Noir. The east facing, 1.5 acre, terraced section of Rhys' Alpine Vineyard produces a unique wine that is very different from the south facing slopes that contribute to the winery's Alpine Vineyard bottling.

Notes from Rhys after tasting in January 2015: Beginning to drink beautifully. Can be opened now but hold to see its best. Drink/Hold.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 Pinot Noir Swan Terrace (100 cases) possesses abundant amounts of fresh red currant, pomegranate, and floral aromas as well as a distinct earthy, mineral-like component. The least evolved of these wines, it reveals a certain austerity along with good weight, a firm, Burgundian style, crisp acidity, and admirable depth as well as richness. Purchasers will have to exercise discipline as well as patience.

Range: (89-92)+

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Rhys Vineyards

Rhys Vineyards

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Rhys Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
The folks at Rhys Vineyards aspire to make great wines from unique and expressive vineyards. This pursuit has lead them to select five different sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. 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 ageworthy wines that emphasize vineyard expression, balance, fresh fruit, and concentration.

Santa Cruz Mountains

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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.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

DRS194684_2008 Item# 194684