Mark Ryan Winery was established in 1999. Since that time, it has developed a strong cult following for its big, opulent reds. The winery is named after winemaker and owner Mark Ryan McNeilly. Originally located in Woodinville’s office park community, Mark Ryan recently opened a tasting room at Hollywood Hills in Woodinville. Production still occurs at the former location.
The fall releases include one white wine and three reds. The 2008 Viognier is a rich, round wine that delivers more weight on the palate than previous vintages. In terms of the reds, 2007 has been an exceptional vintage for Washington in general, and the new Mark Ryan releases do not disappoint. As is the house style, these are bold, powerful wines with healthy doses of oak and alcohol, although not too much to overwhelm the exceptional fruit. Fruit for the three reds comes from two of Red Mountain’s most prominent vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun. While locked up fairly tightly at the moment, these are excellent wines that will only improve with additional bottle age.
While I thought these wines showed well at the temperatures served, I have said before but I will say again that I (strongly) recommend you drink these wines between 62 to 65 degrees. This is particularly important when drinking wines with reasonably high alcohol levels (my rule of thumb is around 15% or above) to keep the alcohol in balance.
Mark Ryan Spring 2009 Releases
Mark Ryan Fall 2008 Releases
2005 Ciel du Cheval Vintage
| Mark Ryan Winery Viognier 2008 |
| Light straw colored. An elegant nose marked by peaches, light spice, and mineral notes. Plush and full with a lot of fruit on the palate. Ramps up toward the finish. Conner Lee and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. 61% French oak (53% neutral); 39% stainless steel. 13.9% alcohol. 375 cases produced. Sampled at 60 degrees. ||$28|
| Mark Ryan Winery Long Haul Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2007 |
| A racy nose marked by dried cranberries, loamy earth, floral notes, black pepper, and other red fruit. Tart and puckering on the palate with freshly ground cranberries. Right now the aromatics deliver but the taste is very tight. Give minimum 6-12 months or decant extensively. 66% Merlot, 34% Cab Franc. 55% new French oak; 28% used once (Saury, Sylvan, Quintessence). 14.8% alcohol. 372 cases produced. Sampled at 68 degrees. |
| Mark Ryan Water Witch Klipsun Vineyard 2007 |
| An intensely aromatic wine with powdered chocolate, earth, floral aromas, rosehips, white pepper, and barrel notes. Rich with fruit on the palate along with chewy tannins. Give 1+ year or decant extensively. 57% Cabernet, 43% Merlot. 92% new French oak, 8% used once (Saury, Sylvan, Quintessence). 14.8% alcohol. 277 cases produced. Sampled at 68 degrees. ||$45|
| Mark Ryan Winery Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval 2007 |
|A complex, fragrant nose with rosehips, abundant dried flowers, and a light herbal element. Tighter than a drum on a taste packed with tannins and intensity. A big, dry, powerful wine with lots of fruit that persists through a long finish. The alcohol gets in the way a bit at times but overall this wine delivers. Give 2 years or decant extensively. 67% Cabernet; 13% Merlot; 13% Cab Franc; 7% Petit Verdot. 100% New French Oak (Saury, Sylvan, Taransaud, Quintessence). 14.7% alcohol. 651 cases produced. Sampled at 66 degrees.||$45|