2015 Mark Ryan, Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, $58
Winery info: Mark Ryan McNeilly began making wine in 1999, working in various garages and warehouses before finally settling into Woodinville in 2003. He is now based in Woodinville’s Hollywood area. Mark’s goal from day one has been to make delicious, handcrafted wines that represent the vineyard from which they come and the character of the varietal.
Winemaker: Mark Ryan McNeilly and Mike MacMorran
Grapes: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Aged for 22 months in 84% new French oak.
Vineyard sources: Quintessence, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, and Obelisco vineyards, all on Red Mountain
Flavor profile: Big, rich, and elegant, with dark fruit flavors and savory notes of earth. The more mature vineyard sites add texture and character, while the younger sites (such as their Quintessence plantings) contribute structure and vitality.
Production/Availability: 2,200 cases made. It is still in good supply.
Drinkability: While you could enjoy it now with decanting, the classic Red Mountain tannins will continue to soften over the next few years. You could cellar this one for up to a decade.
Food Pairing: A juicy steak, roast beef, or other robust fare.
2013 Lauren Ashton Cellars, Cuvée Estelle, $32
Winery info: Kit Singh, a former dentist, studied at UC Davis and then interned at DeLille before founding Lauren Ashton in Woodinville in 2009. Since then Lauren Ashton has found itself lauded as one of the state’s most exciting new wineries, thanks to Kit’s skill and passion as a winemaker.
Winemaker: Kit Singh
Grapes: 64% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: Stillwater Creek, Weinbau, Upland, Quintessence, Les Collines, and Dineen vineyards, all in the Columbia Valley
Flavor profile: An elegant and stylish wine, rich and full-bodied, with complex flavors of red and black fruits and a light, balancing touch of oak.
Production/Availability: 530 cases. It should be in decent supply for a while.
Drinkability: Anytime over the next ten years.
Food Pairing: Grilled meats, roast duck, or on its own.