Hello friends. What a vintage 2008 has been for Mark Ryan. Bold wines, stellar press, swift sales.
We previously jumped in on the Dead Horse, Water Witch, and Long Haul, and because of our list’s support of Mark Ryan this year, they set aside their last handful of cases for their two remaining 2008s. These 08s will not be available for reorder; after this, it’s onto the 2009 vintage.
And speaking of that 2009 vintage, before we get into the big guns, here’s a quick sneak-preview of 2009, courtesy of The Vincent:
2009 Mark Ryan “The Vincent” (Cabernet Blend)
We offered the 2008 vintage of this previously, and as a reminder, this is an alternate label (here’s what it looks like) for Mark Ryan that is mostly targeting restaurant glass-pour lists. While the higher end of the Mark Ryan portfolio is all about structure and density, the Vincent is more of a ripe-and-ready wine, especially in a warm vintage like 2009.
A grapey, brambly nose leads into a plump, juicy palate. Soft in texture and generous in flavor, this is an easy mouthful of blackcurrant, black cherry, and espresso. The blend here is 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, 20% Merlot. And then the final 10% has some nostalgic value. It is Red Willow Vineyard Lemberger, the final vintage before these vines were torn up and replaced (I assume with Cabernet or Syrah, both of which fetch a heftier tag than poor old Lemberger).
2008 Mark Ryan Syrah “Lost Soul” Les Vignes de Marcoux Vineyard
This may be the smallest-production Mark Ryan wine on the market. At just 3 barrels, total production here was 75 cases. It comes entirely from the 1992-planted Syrah block at Les Vignes de Marcoux, which is Mike Sauer’s vineyard across the street from Red Willow. The aromatics are killer, with smoked pepper-bacon, lavender, and smashed rock all competing for attention. This also struck me as Mark’s most accessible 2008, as this brings plenty of pleasure right now, and the tannins are powdery and pillow-soft. 33% new oak; 10% whole cluster; 14.6% finished alc.
Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman): “($45); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”
Review of Washington Wines (Rand Sealey): “($45); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 19/20pts.”
2008 Mark Ryan Cabernet Sauvignon “Lonely Heart”
Not much of this was made either; just 150 cases. Five of the six barrels are Klipsun Cabernet; the other barrel is Ciel du Cheval Petit Verdot. Aged for 22 months in 100% new French oak, this is a luxury Cabernet, built for long-term success. The structure here is massive; this finishes with a wall of black-tea tannins. Underneath, there is a wonderful core of dusty minerals, and cassis, and black cherry, but it will be years before they completely unfurl.
In the December issue of Wine & Spirits, this will appear in their Year’s Best Cabernet section:
Wine & Spirits Magazine: “($85); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”
Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “($85); [REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ** (Exceptional).”
The Vincent will be first come first served, up to 24 bottles. For the other two, please limit order requests to 12 bottles total (mix and match as you see fit), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. All three wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.