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Mark Ryan Winery - Tasting Feb 2023

Mark Ryan is a massive red with precision, and fine execution. The winery is well known for big, bold Red Mountain wines, sourcing particularly from Quintessence Vineyards. Their portfolio offers several renditions of bordeaux varietal blends from merlot dominant ("Long Haul"), to more cab dominant ("Dead Horse", "The Dissident", "Water Witch") blends. Finally, they offer some massive 100% cabs, from blended or single vineyard ("Old Vines", "Lonely Heart").


Purple Cellars Wine Blog - Tasting at Mark Ryan Winery Feb 2023



2021 Numbskull White

43% Marsanne, 35% Roussanne, 22% Grenache Blanc. Columbia Valley. Tropical and citrus fruit, stone on the nose. Refreshing juicy pear with nice rounded acid and touch of lemon. Very pleasant, coating and slightly creamy, full mouthfeel. Focused, and finish with subtle nuttiness. $32. 93 points.


2020 Crazy Mary

78% Mourvedre, 22% Syrah. Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain). Red Willow Vineyard (Yakima Valley). Mild and pleasant nose of cherries and smoked meat, ham, some floral notes. Opens rapidly into a bold red cherries, and strawberries. Notes of some savory herb, then follows with pronounced, lingering backbone of black pepper, and light oak. Smooth and seamless on the palate, soft pleasant tannins. $65. 93 points.


2020 Water Witch

66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cab Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Quintessence Vineyard, Red Mountain. Beautiful nose of dark berries and sweet flowers, vanilla, black pepper. Blast of dark fruit, immediately oaky and peaking with slightly chewy tannins, then resolving into blueberries, smoothing on the palate, with touch of cocoa and a hint of mint. Nice dynamic, complex textural ride. Very interested in the 2019 vintage. $70. 94 points.


2020 Old Vines

100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ciel du Cheval (Red Mountain). Red Willow Vineyard (Yakima Valley). Dark fruit and sweet baking spices, nutmeg. Same on the palate, juicy dark Red mountain fruit, and sweet spices, followed by some slightly floral notes, cracked black pepper. Soft tannins with nice structure, pronounced oak. Focused. $80. 94 points.


2020 Lonely Heart

Quintessence Vineyard, Red Mountain. Dark fruit and licorice aromas. Concentrated blackberries, blueberries, with pronounced oak, licorice, and lingering vanilla notes. Grippy tannins. Needs several years of cellaring with great potential. $100. Currently 91 points.


2020 Dead Horse

90% Cab Sauv, 26% Merlot, 19% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. Quintessence, Obelisco, Discovery, Olsen Vineyards. Red Mountain, Yakima. Most of the fruit is from Quintessence, Red Mountain. The remaining fruit from Obelisco (Red Mountain), Discovery (Horse Heaven Hills), and Olsen Vineyards (Yakima). Dark fruit and sweet spice on the nose. Same on the palate, then accelerates into heavy oak and slightly sticky tannins, with a vanilla finish. Needs time. $70. 90 points.





Red wine lovers who love big and bold styles will appreciate Mark Ryan's portfolio. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the sister label, producing an excellent 2021 Numbskull White.


Although young, and perhaps a difficult vintage, Mark Ryan pulled of an amazing portfolio with capable body full of enticing fruit with complexity which will only improve with time. The promise is absolutely there, and these vintages are cellaring wines worth the long-term payoff.


I particularly enjoyed the 2020 Water Witch (Cab dominant blend) which is showing well now, as well as the 2020 Old Vines (%100 Cab). Choose the former if you want softer, and the latter if you need something bold now.


I didn't get to taste, but am very curious about the many times mentioned "Long Haul" (71% Merlot, 19% Cab Franc, 6% Cab Sauv, 3% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot) .




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