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Rhys Vineyards – Mountain excitement…
19 November 2020

From their custom-built underground cellar high up off the aptly named Skyline Boulevard in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, Jeff Brinkman and owner Kevin Harvey have for some years, been quietly crafting truly world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. GrownThese they grow on a variety of sites with thin topsoils and diverse base geologies, planted to extremely high densities – almost all of which were discovered, planned and cultivated by these visionariesthese It’s a project made possible by deep pockets and an unshakable desire to make great wines that taste of somewhere. Originally inspired by a love of the wines of the Cote d’Or, we’d posit the Rhys wines are about as close as you can get to the greats of the old world, albeit from a mixture of elevated, Pacific Ocean influenced sites. As the project matures, the element of restraint that has always made these wines stand out is joined by truly complex, intense and persistent fruit and mineral profiles that have all the nuance, precision and intensity of great Burgundy.

2017 was typically warm and dry, though crucially it saw heavy rains early in the season, a deluge that brought a welcome end to the five-year Californian drought. Flowering was untroubled and the warm season led to harvest starting at the end of August, two weeks earlier than normal. Perhaps most notably for growers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, early September saw a record-breaking heat spike so intense it put ripening on hold (rather than accelerating it) and forced the Rhys team to wait a further two weeks before continuing to harvest. Utterly remarkably, the resulting wines bear no hallmarks of hot weather, are low in alcohol with soaring aromatic profiles and finely balanced structures. They’re a sheer joy to taste, sleek, detailed, long and charming, with melting tannins and plenty of acidity and energy to them. Such is the ease with which they blend seriousness with levity, one bottle is sadly, seldom enough…

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