2014 Mark Ryan, Dead Horse, $58
Winery info: Mark Ryan McNeilly began making wine in 1999, working in various garages and warehouses before finally settling into Woodinville in 2003. As production increased he later relocated to his current location in Woodinville’s Hollywood area. His goal from day one has been to make delicious wines that represent the vineyard from which they come, and to make every vintage better than the last.
Winemaker: Mark Ryan McNeilly and Mike MacMorran
Grapes: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, Obelisco, and Quintessence vineyards, all on Red Mountain.
Flavor profile: Rich and full-bodied, with dark fruit flavors and solid tannins.
Production/Availability: 69 barrels produced. It was just released in October so it should be in good supply for a while.
Drinkability: Though it’s drinking well now, and most people will, Mark always suggests letting his wines develop for for three to four years. You could easily cellar it for a decade or more.
Food Pairing: A perfect wine for a tender, juicy steak, of course, or any other robust fare.
2013 Soos Creek, Palisades Merlot, $29.75
Winery info: David Larsen was the first of a number of talented members of the Boeing Wine Club who went on to establish successful wineries in the state. His first commercial vintage was in 1989 and today Soos Creek is still a small family-owned winery specializing in Washington State red wines made from Bordeaux varietals. Thanks to his early connections with some of Washington’s top vineyards, he still has access to some of the best fruit in the state.
Winemaker: David Larsen
Grapes: 88% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard sources: 14% Ciel du Cheval, 28% Elephant Mountain, 29% Klipsun, and 29% Slide Mountain (this is the first time Dave has used fruit from this Yakima Valley vineyard, with its ancient basalt soils above the Missoula Flood plain)
Flavor profile: A serious Merlot, with rich, dark flavors that evolve as it opens up. Excellent structure and depth, and firm, balancing tannins
Production/Availability: 200 cases. Still in good supply
Drinkability: Ready to drink now, or it could develop for a few more years in your cellar.
Food Pairing: Great on its own or with almost any kind of meat dish.