Three from Mark Ryan

Hello friends. Today we have a pair of autumn releases from Mark Ryan: new vintages of Mark McNeilly’s muscular Bordeaux blends, Long Haul and Dead Horse (plus a delightful – and nearly sold out – white).

Neither red has any formal reviews yet (probably a good thing for our ability to access them), but Jeb Dunnuck of Wine Advocate posted notes from barrel (we’ll paste those below) and ranged out future reviews at 92-94 Long Haul and 93-95 Dead Horse. By the time the first official reviews come out, these wines will likely be long gone.

2011 Mark Ryan “Long Haul” (BDX Blend)

Long Haul returns to a Red Mountain designation in 2011. It’s more than half Ciel du Cheval fruit, rounded out with Klipsun, Kiona, and Obelisco, and raised in 70% new French oak for 20 months.

We start with a darkly-fruited (blackberry, black cherry) nose, swaddled in barrel notes of woodsmoke, coffee, and toast. The palate combines silky Merlot texture on a heftily-structured frame. Merlot dominates Long Haul, at 76% of the blend, and it serves as 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 Merlot’s name. You’d swear the proportions of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon were reversed here as you’re chewing through the espressoey tannins. Dense, intense, and earthy, this needs time in bottle or decanter to unlock its highest potential.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): [BARREL SAMPLE] “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

2011 Mark Ryan “Dead Horse” Cabernet Sauvignon

Dead Horse has a high enough proportion of Cab (82%) that Cabernet Sauvignon appears on the label. Vineyard sources match Long Haul; this is again a crosscut of wonderful Red Mountain vines, again raised in plenty of new French barrels (80% new). A nose of blackberry fruit and loamy earth gives way to a palate at whose center spins a dense core of Red Mountain minerality. Spinning around that core are streaks of cassis fruit, star anise, barrel spice, and leafy black tea. It’s a dense, concentrated powerhouse, making it clear that even in a cool vintage like 2011, Red Mountain delivers plenty of ripeness, plenty of its rare-and-appealing combination of muscle and grace.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): [BARREL SAMPLE] “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

2012 Mark Ryan Viognier

This is very close to sold out, but the winery has set aside a little chunk for our list. It comes from Ciel du Cheval and Red Willow fruit. For a winery that produces such bold, muscular reds, you’d expect this to be a fat, oily version of Washington Viognier. Instead it’s nothing of the kind, an impressive Viognier that walks the tightrope between richness and vibrancy. There’s a lovely whack of chalky mineral to balance the dense, creamy fruit. Flavors include stone fruit (peach, apricot), citrus (orange peel mostly) and ginger root. Complex, balanced, lovely.

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 92pts.”

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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