Washington Wine Club – July 2010

2007 Mark Ryan Winery, Dead Horse
Mark McNeely needs no introduction to Washington wine fans, both for his powerhouse wines and his mentoring of so many young winemakers. Mark delayed the release of his 2007 wines from the holidays until this past month, to give them more time in bottle and also to give customers more time to buy up the last of the prior vintage. Of his three top releases, including the Long Haul (a Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend) and the Water Witch from Klipsun Vineyard, we thought the Dead Horse blend from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard was the star of the vintage. It’s a classic Mark Ryan wine, massive, with firm tannins, and very fresh, with lots of black fruit, olive, cedar and tobacco. This year, the blend is 67% Cabernet, 13% Merlot, 13% Cab Franc, and 7% Petit Verdot. Mark recommends either decanting the wine now or drinking it between 2012 and 2020. It’s $45 and we have obtained the last three cases available outside the winery.

2005 Gamache Vintners, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
What do you get when you take 50% Gamache Vineyard old vines Cabernet, and blend it with 50% old vines from the legendary Champoux Vineyard? One of the most elegant Washington Cabernets available anywhere. This acclaimed wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from vines 30 years old and older. The Champoux Vineyard, on the Columbia Gorge, provides fruit for some of the finest Washington State wines, such as Quilceda Creek. And our customers are very familiar with the quality of Bob and Roger Gamache’s wines from Benton City, just outside the Red Mountain AVA, which have always been well-made and very popular. The wine was tasting beautifully at a recent West Seattle Cellars partnership meeting, although, like the 2003 release that Bear put in the club, there’s no doubt it will still be alive and kicking five to ten years from now. It’s also much more of a food wine than the powerhouse Dead Horse; try it with grilled Portobello mushrooms. It’s also a little bit less than previous releases, coming in at $39.75, and still in good supply.