Ever since the beginning -- that's my beginning tasting and selling Washington wine 14 years ago -- Dead Horse has been its own thing. A rockstar. The kind of wine you'd fight to pour the last glass of. It still is. The Mark Ryan wines have never been so polished while exhibiting the muscular, brash, let's-party nature of the winery. I've given it a few hours of air, opened but not decanted, and Dead Horse grabbed the microphone to say "hey, check me out!" The black fruits are welcoming yet firmly stacked, with gobs of early enjoyable exuberance that conceal the foundation that'll reward an easy 8-10 years of aging. I'd grab a few and begin drinking them now with decanting and finish the last bottle in 10 years...or who am I kidding: 8. I'm better at drinking wine than cellaring it. - Marcus
92-94 points Wine Advocate: "Made from primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot) that's brought up in 84% new French oak, it's classic Red Mountain all the way with its ripe red and black currant fruits, dusty earth, minerality, graphite and savory aromas and flavors. Big, rich, unctuous and textured, it has plenty of tannin and is going to benefit from short term cellaring."
2014 vintage notes
93-95 points Wine Advocate: "Tasted out of barrel, the rich, full-bodied 2014 Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard sports an inky purple color as well as flat out great notes of ripe black fruits, licorice, graphite and tobacco leaf. Based largely on Cabernet, it will have two decades of longevity."
2013 vintage notes
94 points Wine Advocate: "Made from 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, the 2013 Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard comes all from Red Mountain and spent 21 months in 72% new French oak. It’s a quintessential Red Mountain Cabernet with its crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rock-like minerality and spring flower-driven profile. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with incredibly polished tannin, it shows the prettier side to the region, will benefit from short-term cellaring, and have two decades of overall longevity."
2012 vintage notes
Wine Advocate 94-96 points: "Much more rich and voluptuous, the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard boasts knockout aromas and flavors of blueberries, blackberries, licorice, spring flowers and toast to go with a full-bodied, rich and structured profile on the palate. Despite all of the richness here, this puppy stays nicely focused, has superb purity of fruit and notable tannin that frame the finish. It-s another effort that will benefit from 4 to 5 years of cellaring and have over two decades of longevity." - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2012 DeadHorse is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
Exceptional, and one of our favorite Washington red wines, since the very beginning.
2011 vintage notes
Wine Advocate 93-95 points: More firm, concentrated and structured, the 2011 Dead Horse is Mark’s Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend and checks in as 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all from Red Mountain. Aged for 21 months in 72% new French oak, it’s slightly brooding and backwards with black fruits, smoked earth, coffee bean and spice box aromas and flavors as showing with some aggressive swirling. Medium to full-bodied, fresh, beautifully balanced and with big minerality on the finish, it’s a serious Washington blend that will reward 2-4 years in the cellar and have 15-20 years of ultimate longevity. Drink 2015-2031.
2010 vintage notes
Wine Advocate 94 Points...classic Cabernet Sauvignon on the nose and palate, the 2010 Dead Horse is made from 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and the balance Malbec and Petit Verdot. Seeing 21 months in 78% new French oak, it has integrated its oak elevage brilliantly and delivers black currant, tobacco, pencil shavings, violet and wild herb qualities that flow to a full-bodied, concentrated and seamlessly textured 2010 that has juicy acidity, excellent mid-palate concentration and masses of finely polished tannin on the finish. Give it 3-4 years and enjoy over the following 15+ years or more. Drink 2016-2030.
An estate that’s getting up into the creme de la creme of Washington State producers, Mark Ryan Winery was founded by Mark Ryan McNeilly in 1999. Mark now gets assistance in the winemaking from the talented Mike MacMorran (of Manu Propria and Force Majeure), and the wines have overall classical profiles, with bright acidity and tannin, that never lack for fruit or depth. If you haven’t tried these wines, now is great time to check them out. - Wine Advocate
Mark Ryan Winery's Dead Horse Red is their most beloved and critically acclaimed wine. 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. Made from Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, Obelisco, and Red Willow Vineyard.
The flagship of the Mark Ryan line-up and always my favorite, owing to the Cabernet backbone and Petit Verdot. Deep black fruits laced with red cherries, espresso, graphite, and a touch of spiced vanilla. I highly recommend it. - Marcus
2008 vintage notes
Smoking! The unanimous winner of the new 08's, the Dead Horse kicks it with alluring, creamy, vanilla-mocha shaded black fruit. 62% Cab, 15% Cab Franc, 12% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. You could decant this and down a bottle, but it'll be better after another 2+ years. - Avalon
The 2008 Dead Horse was an Avalon Wine Club Selection - 15% off for Wine Club Members
Wine Spectator 93 Points: "Focused, generous and complex, not especially dense but brimming with cherry, cinnamon, clove and coffee flavors that persist unperturbed by fine tannins as the finish keeps rolling. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2012 through 2020." - H.S.
2007 vintage notes
Massive wine with loads of personality - licorice, sweet oak, cassis, and milk chocolate with crystalized ginger. The palate largely follows the nose, has loads of freshness and structured tannins, with black fruit, cedar and tobacco carrying the finish. Yummy now, but certainly ageable. - Adrienne
Made from 100% Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit. Massive. Black fruit, bittersweet chocolate, saddle leather, cassis, plum, cigar smoke, pain grille. 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot.
A complex, fragrant nose with rosehips, abundant dried flowers, and a light herbal element. Tighter than a drum on a taste packed with tannins and intensity. A big, dry, powerful wine with lots of fruit that persists through a long finish. The alcohol gets in the way a bit at times but overall this wine delivers. Give 2 years or decant extensively. 67% Cabernet; 13% Merlot; 13% Cab Franc; 7% Petit Verdot. 100% New French Oak (Saury, Sylvan, Taransaud, Quintessence). 14.7% alcohol. 651 cases produced. - WA Wine Report
2006 vintage notes
The nose erupts with sweet blackberries cherries, followed by nuances of baking spice. The supple but powerful entry bursts with huge blackberry, cassis, and cherry fruit, showing exceptional purity. Notes of leather, dark flowers, and pepper appear on the finish along with persistent sweet black fruit. There's an elegance rarely found in such a big wine; the oak is perfectly integrated. We all like bold wines now and then, so decant and drink your first bottle now and stash the rest away for the next decade.
The Dead Horse is our favorite Mark Ryan wine several years running. Wine critics seem to agree, and with a Wine Spectator score of 90 points for the 2005, we're sure the 2006 Dead Horse won't be galloping for long!
Our most beloved and critically acclaimed wine is back for it's seventh vintage! We work tediously every year to make sure that the refinement, polish and quality of our wines only gets better and better. We think you long time lovers of Dead Horse will find this to be very evident in our newest release! Our Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend is a rich and full powerhouse, yet still manages to convey a nuance and elegance rare in a wine of this magnitude. The Red Mountain terroir absolutely shines through the layers of deep blackberry and cherry fruit, and as the wine unfolds, so does the beautiful undercurrent of graphite, leather and spice. This is a wine that will surely reward those patient enough to cellar, and delicious now to enjoy decanted. - the winery
52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc, 17% Merlot & 7% Petit Verdot
2005 vintage notes
Whoa Nelly! The biggest of Mark's 2005 wines opens slowly to aromas toasty sweet black and Bing cherries, buttery coffee bean, baking spices, cassis, tar, cocoa powder, and black plum. The flavors are giant, with ripe black cherry, plum, and black currant, toasted espresso bean, and licorice. In time, the fine grained Red Mountain tannins soften to reveal and powerful yet supple Washington blockbuster. Balanced by a lively acidity and big fruit, 2005 Dead Horse will definitely cellar well for years to come--four days after opening, the wine evolved into a lush, magnificent Bordeaux style red.
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard fruit from Red Mountain: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot.