2020 Mark Ryan, Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, $70
Winery info: Founded in 1999 by Mark Ryan McNeilly.
As production increased, he relocated to his current location in Woodinville. His goal from the beginning has been to produce handcrafted wines that represent the vineyards from which they came, the character of the grape variety, and the winery’s style. This is the 22nd vintage of Dead Horse, one of Mark Ryan’s two original labels that began in 1999.
Winemaker: Mark Ryan McNeilly and Mike MacMorran
Grapes: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 1% each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Aged 21 months in 65% new and 35% used French oak.
Vineyards: Predominantly from Red Mountain’s Quintessence, plus Obelisco (also Red Mountain), as well as Discovery (Horse Heaven Hills), and Olsen (Yakima Valley) vineyards.
Flavor profile: The fruit from their custom planting at Quintessence Vineyard provides exceptional purity, intensity, and depth. The Merlot and Cabernet Franc add additional depth and complexity to this wine. The 2020 Dead Horse is a big Cab, with balancing notes of dark fruit, black pepper and herbs, and a silky texture.
Availability: 2,371 cases produced. It should be available through at least February or March.
Drinking Window: You could enjoy it now, with some time to open, or over the next four or five years.
Food pairing: This wine calls for a big juicy steak.
2020 Syncline Winery, Subduction Red, $31
Winery info: We’re longtime fans of Syncline wines, produced by James and Poppie Mantone at their small, limited-production winery in Lyle, Washington in the Columbia Gorge AVA. They first purchased land in the Gorge in 2003, and have since grown to 17 acres of sustainably farmed, biodynamic estate vineyards. They also work with a select group of winegrowing partners to source other fruit for their carefully curated line-up. Their Subduction Red is a Washington version of a Côtes-du-Rhône Villages wine, and a reflection their longtime love of the wines of the southern Rhône Valley.
Winemaker: James Mantone
Grapes: 51% Mourvèdre, 30% Carignan, 10% Syrah, and 9% Grenache. Aged in neutral French oak barriques and puncheons, an oak upright tank, and a concrete cube tank.
Vineyards: Sourced from vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley, and Red Mountain.
Flavor profile: Smooth and inviting, with aromas of berries, spice, and the “dry sagebrush lands of the Eastern Washington desert.” With juicy, savory flavors of plum, black cherry, and black pepper, and great structure and minerality.
Availability: 55 barrels produced. This vintage is still in good supply for now.
Drinking Window: Enjoy now, with some time to open up, or over the next four or five years.
Food Pairing: As the folks at Syncline note, this wine is “compatible with many foods and occasions.” It would be great with grilled pork chops.