2008 Mark Ryan Winery, Crazy Mary Mourvedre
Everybody knows Mark McNeely for his Red Mountain Bordeaux blends, but he has also been working with Rhone grapes for a long time. We think this is his best effort yet, a classic Mark Ryan wine, massive and luscious. It’s 100% Mourvedre, and balances the meaty, earthy flavors of Red Mountain with the sweet herbs and dark fruit characteristic of the grape. Oak aging adds notes of vanilla, chocolate, and smoke, and it all adds up to a powerful yet beautifully layered wine. Try it with a classic southern French meal, particularly anything flavored with pepper, olives, or garlic. Mark recommends either decanting the wine now or drinking it between 2013 and 2020. It’s $45 and in extremely limited supply.
2008 Syncline, Cuvée Elena
As most of our customers know, James and Poppie Mantone are two of our favorite people in the wine trade, and already, in their mid-thirties, among the very best Washington winemakers. This gem, one of our favorite wines and a club perennial, is a delicious and carefully constructed southern Rhone style blend of their very best grapes and clearly their flagship wine. The Grenache, from Northridge Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope, provides good acidity and bright raspberry flavors. The rich meatiness and spicy blackberry flavors come from the Mourvedre from Coyote Canyon Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. Smaller amounts of Syrah, Counoise, and Cinsault provide plum, bramble fruits and rich garrigue aromas. It was a real treat to taste it during a recent visit from Poppie, who was accompanied by the newest addition to the Mantone family, little Naomi, born May 5. While drinking beautifully now, particularly if paired with hearty stews or complex holiday meals, the 2008 Cuvée Elena will easily continue to develop for another 3 to 5 years. It’s $39.75 and we still have a decent amount available.