Rhys is one of the best wineries in the United States. Ergo Rhys makes some of the best wines in the world. Alesia is the Rhys second label, made with purchased fruit until the most recent vintages (it is being converted to young estate fruit). They are not really close to the level of the Rhys estate bottlings, but they are excellent wines in their category.
The Rise of Mendocino
Mendocino County is the new most exciting region in California. As Sonoma Coast quickly vaults into the premium category with wines now pushing up to $100 USD, Mendocino is a source for similar potential for top quality. One great example is Drew, whose wines sell for around $40-$50 USD and match for quality the best of Sonoma Coast, while expressing their unique regional terroir.
Rhys’ Alesia offers another delicious example of Mendocino quality. This is due to Rhys sourcing good fruit and vinifying it with the same meticulous obsession as their estate wines. That meticulous detail is well explained on the Rhys website. Everything is gravity fed, the wines are foot treaded, and the yeasts indigenous. The barrel regime is pretty hardcore: the winery purchases oak as uncoopered stave wood 4 years before the barrels are made by Burgundian coopers who air dry the wood for that four year period. I believe this oak treatment is one of the best perfected in California and a very important contributor to the stunning quality of the estate wines. Luckily, the Alesia bottlings benefit too.
This is the sort of wine to pop open mid week and revel in its aromatic expression, sheer accessibility, freshness and versatility. Expect classic cherry fruit, pleasant but vibrant acidity and considerable balance. Alesia Pinot Noirs are also mid-term ageable for likely up to 10 years.
If you live in the pacific northwest, forget the trendy innovation and just pair this with our local Salmon before pollution and global warming wipe it out.
Very Good+ to Excellent
$44 usd from the winery