Rhys arrived as a comet and continues to climb

February 15, 2019

Rhys Vineyards

The script: Silicon Valley software guy gets the wine bug, gets into it in a big way. After a sharp educational arc, he arrives at a passion for Burgundy, scours the land above said Silicon Valley for the perfect site for Burgundian grapes and opens a winery.

Movie exec: Not interested. The story is tired and clichéd. 

The movie exec is right, to a point. But the hook, the catch, the real story lies in the wines.

Rhys Vineyards is not new, but I do remember the buzz when the first wines were released. They caught fire with the trade and collectors alike. Those first wines were such a surprise. They seemed born fully formed, with balance and complexity and the potential to evolve.

The wines are still wonderful, still fully formed. And the 2015’s suggest greatness.

If you live anywhere on the San Francisco Peninsula, the exotic vineyard names are actually local landmarks: the Alpine vineyard is not near a snow-fed lake; it’s off of Alpine Road. Ditto the Skyline vineyard, named after the connector road from San Mateo to Highway 9 and on to Santa Cruz.

Rhys is no fluke; there are great Santa Cruz Mountain appellation wineries (Ridge, Mount Eden, Kathryn Kennedy, Big Basin Vineyards) and a deep history of legends (Martin Ray, Hallcrest, Santa Cruz Mountain Winery).

But Rhys did not follow a traditional arc; it arrived as a comet and continues to climb.

The 2015 Family Farm Pinot Noir is one of the more open and accessible wines in the portfolio but still shows the ability to improve in bottle with ripe red cherry and savory notes. Subtle. Great balance.

This may not make for an epic film, but for lovers of Pinot Noir it has the happiest of endings.

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And if you do points, a 95 from Dunnuck and Galloni.

95 | Jeb Dunnuck (Aug 2017) My favorite vintage of this cuvée to date, the 2015 Pinot Noir Family Farm Vineyard is just smoking good. Possessing awesome complexity and depth in its framboise, cassis, spice, forest floor and leafy, green herb aromatics, it hits the palate with an understated, yet building style that carries beautiful richness, sweet, polished tannin and surprising length. While the overall impression here is one of upfront charm and fruit, it’s going to keep nicely in the cellar given its balance, depth and length. Count me as fan.

Wishing you a happy February, stay warm!
The WineBank Team

UPDATE: Here's the sequel to the movie

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