We have the right friends in wine. When Mark (Ryan) McNeilly showed up at the store recently, he had a friend in tow: Ross (Andrew) Mickel. We'd heard of Ross' wines but hadn't tried any recent vintages. His two Cabernets blew us away.
Ross spent nearly a decade making wine under the tutelage of Master of Wine (one of 225 on Earth), Bob Betz. Ross was hired as winemaker for Grand Reve/Force Majeure winery, where he earned Wine Spectator's highest rating ever (97 points) for a Washington Cabernet. That was for a Red Mountain Cabernet, so this guys know Red Mountain Cab...
$28.75 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($31.95 regular)
Simply put, this Cab could/should cost more. We're really glad it doesn't. Excellent depth, concentration, balance and structure. Dark red with a solid black core. Intense black fruit aromatics are bolstered by beautiful red current, fresh cedar, and a hint of spice. Balanced, rich Red Mountain palate. A beautiful wine. As it slowly opens the wines takes on hints of great Cabernet Sauvignon: black olive, mineral, liquid iron. Sourced from two vineyards: Quintessence (90%), an exciting newer property that producers are stoked about and Ciel du Cheval (10%), one of Washington's best vineyards. A September Big Reds Club selection.
Incredible Value Alert
$14.35 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($15.95 regular)
Dude. This wine is for real. We tried the Huntsman and liked it. A lot. Then we learned the price and thought, you have to be kidding?! Rocking Washington Cab is rarely (never) this inexpensive. Opening with black currant and strawberry jam, with subtle notes of dried herbs and spices. It's smooooth, too, and is your perfect Tuesday night and/or party wine. 96% Cab and 4% Petit Verdot, mostly from Quintessence Vineyard on Red Mountain, which makes this an even more amazing value. A September New Discoveries Club selection.
And then there is Mark Ryan. Our love of Mark's wines goes back to his earliest vintages; since then, Mark Ryan has become one of the most respected and frankly, best, wineries in Washington. His flagships, Dead Horse and Long Haul, have smoking new releases.
$53.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($59.95 regular)
One of Washington's standard bearers, '14 Dead Horse is like a young king: part regal, part brash. Exuberant black fruits team up with licorice and tobacco in the rich and polished heart of the wine, with great length and purity on the finish. Decant for a couple hours if drinking young -- best if aged for four or more years (and up to fifteen). 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.
$49.45 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case* order ($54.95 regular)
Packed with currants, dark cherries and plums accented by cedar, tobacco and minerals, this is classic Washington Merlot with stellar aging potential. Give this space to breathe and ideally, four to six years before enjoying. In 2014, Mark Ryan shifted Long Haul to a heftier backbone of Merlot (78%) blended with 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.