Hello friends. Today we have a pair of autumn releases from Mark Ryan: new vintages of his muscular Bordeaux blends, Long Haul and Dead Horse.
Neither of these has any reviews yet (probably a good thing for our ability to access them), but both leave a trail of massive scores in their wakes from previous vintages, and typically, by the time those reviews come out, the wines are long gone.
2010 Mark Ryan “Long Haul” (BDX Blend)
This loses the Red Mountain designation in 2010, but for a good reason: the addition of Red Willow Vineyard. The remainder is still all Red Mountain (Ciel du Cheval, Kilpsun, and Obelisco), so we’re spanning the length of the Yakima Valley, from Red Willow in the west to Red Mountain in the east.
Merlot dominates Long Haul, at 61% of the blend. The remainder: 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. It all goes into 86% new French oak for 20 months. Long Haul is a fine example of the burliness of Washington Merlot. This is Merlot for adults, dense and chewy and far from the insipid examples that have hurt the “Merlot brand.” You’d swear the proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were reversed here.
What I noticed right away on tasting is an earthier nose than is the norm with Long Haul, with graphite notes and cocoa nibs for good measure. The palate combines crème de cassis with silty minerals, and then the massive tannins take over in the middle and don’t let go, awash in flavors of earl grey tea. This is a dark, earthy showstopper that needs time in bottle or decanter before it unlocks its fullest potential.
2010 Mark Ryan “Dead Horse” Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mtn)
Dead Horse keeps the Red Mountain designation but does see a label change, getting the “Cabernet Sauvignon” moniker, since the proportion is above 80% this year (81% to be exact). It’s rounded out with small portions of all four remaining Bordeaux varietals, and it comes from Ciel, Klipsun, and Obelisco. Dead Horse sees a smidge more new French: 92%.
Again, there is deep, dense fruit here (blackcurrant, black cherry), but it’s currently sitting behind a fortress of mineral and espressoey tannin. Massively structured, clearly built for a long and compelling life ahead, this needs a big fatty steak right now, its chewy tannins ready to leap into service to scrape lipids off your palate.
Please limit order requests to 18 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.