2011 Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Reviews Vineyards Past Vintages


Vineyard Source

Ciel du Chaval Vineyard, Red Mountain
Obelisco Vineyard, Red Mountain
Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley


82% Cabernet Sauvignon
10% Merlot
6% Cabernet Franc
2% Petit Verdot



Release Date

October 5th, 2013


51 Barrels

Tasting Notes

The 2011 Dead Horse exemplifies the 2011 vintage’s remarkable fruit purity and outstanding texture. Dense aromas of red and black currants mingle with dark floral notes and subtle minerality. Swirling the glass will coax blackberry compote and sweet vanilla. Upon the first taste, the palate is enveloped with supple, velvety black cherry wrapped in layers of black currant, mineral and spice. We’re impressed with this wine’s focus, weight and finesse. The finish is seamless, carrying soft, ripe tannin and fresh acidity. While the 2011 Dead Horse is certainly built to age, we believe its youthful vibrancy is a virtue to explore.


 93 - 95pts - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
(Sampled in barrel)
94pts Cellar Selection Wine Enthusiast
Download Tasting Notes PDF

Price: $52.00


Join Our Club

Winemaker's Notes

The 2011 Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon is a testament to a beautiful vintage and the incredible work done in vineyards. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot show the power of this vintage, while the Merlot and Cabernet France lend balance and refinement. Each lot was fermented separately in 1.5-ton fermenters from between 12 and18 days. Then the wines were gently pressed to barrel where malolactic fermentation was completed. The wine was racked only twice prior to bottling and is unfined and unfiltered.

The 2011 Vintage

Very similar to 1999 a late bud break was followed a very cool summer. Warmer weather finally began in August and early September. Picking dates were up to two weeks later than the previous year. Rain presented challenges in late September and then again throughout October. Winemakers and vineyard managers had to decide whether they should pick early and try and limit rot damage or roll the dice, add hang time and sugar, and hope to avoid significant loss due to rot. Those that gambled were rewarded. The wines produced are a combination of beautiful aromatics, profound elegance and wonderful balance. Texturally superior, the 2011 Vintage form Mark Ryan is peerless in its purity, balance and freshness.


Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain

Owned and operated by Jim Holmes and managed by Ryan Johnson, Ciel du Cheval has helped pave the way for the fine wine grapes on Red Mountain. With 120 acres under vine, Ciel du Cheval is a major contributor to Mark Ryan wines. The very first vintages of Dead Horse and Long Haul were packed with fruit from Ciel du Cheval, a tradition that continues to this day.
Balancing polish and refinement in its power and depth, Ciel represents a feminine compliment to Klipsun's brazen muscularity. The vines are planted in a fan trellis system, which provides a more-dense canopy to shield the clusters from the intense heat of the site. This style of management allows the grape's sugars to develop harmoniously with its concentration and physiological ripeness, showcasing deep fruit flavors balanced with non-fruit complexity.


Named by Wine and Spirits magazine as one of the Top 25 vineyards in the World, Klipsun is truly a Washington icon. Located on the western edge of Red Mountain AVA, the vineyard was planted in 1984 by David and Patricia Gelles. There are currently 120 acres planted to vines, managed by Julia Kock. Klipsun fruit is all about power. It's placement on Red Mountain exposes the vines to strong nighttime winds that thicken the grape's skins, making a smaller berry with dense fruit concentration and broad-shouldered structure. These conditions, coupled with the natural, consistent heat of Red Mountain create a wine of big, bold aromas and muscular intensity and power.