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Mark Ryan Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Washington
  • WE93
  • WS93
14.7% ABV
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4.0 1 Ratings
14.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Inspired by the great left-bank blends of Bordeaux, Dead Horse is a Cabernet Sauvignon-driven wine supported by Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The 2009 Dead Horse is a testament to a beautiful vintage and the incredible work done in vineyards. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot show the power of this vintage, while the Merlot and Cabernet France lend balance and refinement. Each lot was fermented separately in 1.5-ton fermenters from between 12 and18 days. Then the wines were gently pressed to barrel where malolactic fermentation was completed. The wine was racked only twice prior to bottling and is unfined and unfiltered.

Aromas of blackberry, violet, and raspberry combine with layers of tealeaf, tobacco, bramble, mint, cracked black pepper and clove. The palate is rich and supple with elements of cocoa and vanilla bean. The texture is refined with elegant tannins.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This Bordeaux-style blend is Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated, showing vivid red fruits, with drying, somewhat leafy tannins. It has an earthy foundation and impressive length, it just needs more bottle age to fully integrate its flavors. Cellar Selection.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
The Mark Ryan 2009 Dead Horse blends with its Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Cabernet Franc, 11% Malbec, 8% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, enlisting four-year-old vines in as yet little-known but superbly-situated Obelisco Vineyard to supplement fruit from its tongue-in-cheek namesake (Ciel du Cheval) and Klipsun. Cassis, cedar, and dark tobacco inform the nose as well as a palpably dense, subtly chewy and vivaciously juicy palate. A briny, mineral and at the same time sweetly savory suggestion of anchovy paste adds irresistibly saliva-inducing savor to the long finish of this impeccably balanced bottling...
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Mark Ryan

Mark Ryan

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Mark Ryan, Washington
2009 Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Mark Ryan McNeilly founded Mark Ryan Winery in 1999 with the goal of making the best wines in Washington State. Largely self-taught, Mark honed the craft of winemaking through rigorous study and the welcomed advice of some of the area's most experienced producers.

Over a decade later, Mark Ryan Winery has grown in size, earned acclaim from wine-lovers and critics alike, and garnered respect from the state's elite producers. The goal, however, remains the same. Make delicious wines that represent the vineyard from which they come, making every vintage better than the last.

Washington

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An important winegrowing state increasingly recognized for its high-quality reds and whites, Washington is just below California in production numbers but lags behind Oregon in popularity. This has recently begun to change as Washington’s wines continue to garner high praise from critics and consumers alike. Winemakers draw inspiration from the Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and the Rhône, but because it is such a young industry, even the very best bottles are still relatively affordable. Most viticulture takes place on the eastern side of the state—an arid desert in the rain shadow of the Cascade mountains. Irrigation is made possible by the Columbia River. Temperatures are extreme, with hot and dry summers and cold winters, during which frost can be a risk.

Washington’s wine industry was initially built on Merlot, which remains an important variety to this day, despite being overtaken in acreage planted by Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Bordeaux blends and Rhône blends are common, and red wines in general tend to have ripe fruit balanced with earthy flavors and a leaner structure than most Californian equivalents. In terms of white wine, Riesling is the state’s major success story, producing crisp, aromatic examples with plenty of stone fruit that range from bone dry to lusciously sweet. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc perform nicely here as well, and Viognier is beginning to pick up steam.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

WBO30081851_2009 Item# 120326

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