This small report looks at new releases from Rhys and Halcon, two terrific estates in Northern California.
The Halcon releases are focused on their estate Halcon Vineyard, which was planted by and farmed today by Paul and Jackie Gordon. The vineyard is located in the Mendocino appellation of Yorkville Highlands, and lying at 2,500 feet in elevation, it’s one of the highest vineyards in California. This cool, windy, ocean-influenced vineyard yields beautiful, cool-climate styled wines that always seem to have a slightly old-world character while still showing plenty of fruit and depth. Looking at the winemaking, the wines see varying amounts of stems, with aging occurring mostly in older, neutral barrels. I’ve put their Alturas Syrah in many a blind tasting with Northern Rhones, and it’s never disappointed. These beautiful, singular wines come from a great site and well worth seeking out.
Looking at the Rhys releases, their 2018s are incredible wines across the board and they show remarkable purity and elegance paired with beautiful concentration and depth. These aren’t blockbuster wines with over the top richness and depth, yet they’re flawlessly balanced and excel on their complexity, elegance, and length. While the Bearwallow releases come from a site in the Anderson Valley, the majority are from their estate vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The winemaking here isn’t dogmatic and some sites are completely destemmed while others seeing varying amounts of whole clusters in the fermentations. Aging occurs mostly in used barrels, with new oak kept well in check. There’s not a wine in the lineup that shows any overt oak and these wines speak clearly of their terroir/vineyard, which can’t always be said for producers with this many single vineyard releases. Alcohol levels are in the 12%-13% range for most of these 2018s. Enough can’t be said about the quality coming from this estate and these are world-class, age-worthy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that are as good as anything out there.
As always, thanks for reading and happy hunting,