Red Willow, Yakima Valley
Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
Klipsun, Red Mountain
Quintessence, Red Mountain
Obelisco, Red Mountain
Olsen, Yakima Valley
14% Cabernet Franc
6% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Petit Verdot
October 2, 2016
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"The 2014 Long Haul Ciel du Cheval Vineyard was shifted to a more Merlot dominated blend in 2014. It offers plenty of currants, plums, spice and cedar characteristics in ripe, sexy, slightly straightforward style. It has good concentration, but should certainly be outstanding." Jeb Dunnuck
(90-92) Points, Wine Advocate
Little Dissident Price: $49.50
Big Dissident Price: $46.75
"The 2014 Long Haul Ciel du Cheval Vineyard was shifted to a more Merlot dominated blend in 2014. It offers plenty of currants, plums, spice and cedar characteristics in ripe, sexy, slightly straightforward style. It has good, not great concentration, but should certainly be outstanding." Jeb Dunnuck
Ciel du Cheval
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.
Red Willow vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the state, a true Washignton pioneer. Owned and operated by Mike Sauer, his wife Karen, sons Jonathan and Daniel, and son-in-law Rick Willsey, Red Willow remains a family operation. The vineyard is located on the Yakima Indian Reservation, on steep south-facing slopes in the Cascade foothills, in the Yakima Valley AVA. The first wine grapes were planted in 1973 under the directionof Dr. Walt Clore, Red Willow represents classical non-fruit qualities with stunning balance and grace.
Leif Olsen's Yakima Valley AVA vineyard consistently produces some of the highest quality and most sought after grapes in the region. The first vines were planted in 1980, with the most recent planting in 2005. Vines sprawl over 800 acres over a wide variety of slopes, aspects, and elevations. Viognier, Syrah, and Petit Verdot are sourced from Olsen for Mark Ryan Winery wines. Mark and Mike have also collaborated with Leif to plant 7 acres of high density Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre on ancient soils at 1200-1300 feet of elevation which will come to fruition in 2016.
A relative newcomer to Red Mountain, Obelisco was planted in 2006 and is a partnership between Doug Long, Paul Kaltinick and Dick Shaw. The vineyard is managed by Marshall Edwards. From the first harvest in 2008, we have had the great pleasure of working with their Cabernet Sauvignon. Obelisco fruit represents a true archetypal Cabernet profile with great texture and length.
Quintessence Vineyards is a 410-acre parcel of land with a base elevation of 675 feet, rising to 1,025 feet as it reaches Red Mountain AVA's southwest-facing slopes. Quintessence founders Dick Shaw and Paul Kaltinick planted their first vines as partners on Red Mountain in 2010. They launched Quintessence with a planting of 68 acres along Red Mountain's southwestern slope. Positive response was immediate, with customers pointing to "world class vineyard management" and "spectacular fruit" as some outstanding attributes. Additional planting followed, with similar success. Now, with the expansion along the eastern ridge and slop of Red Mountain, Quintessence will encompass some 300 acres in total. Quintessence is made up of premium land, a talent for farming, dedicated management, ideal growing conditions, and a love for what they do.
2012: 92 Points: The 2012 Long Haul Ciel du Cheval Vineyard is another terrific Bordeaux blend from this team. Made from 49% Merlot, 44% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, it was vinified in stainless steel and aged in once used French oak barrels. It exhibits subtle hints of coffee bean in its red and black fruits, roasted meats, spice and licorice-styled bouquet, and picks up more and more floral nuances with time. Full-bodied, tight, focused and a little backward, it opens up nicely in the glass, has integrated acidity and a clean finish. Give it 2-4 years and drink it through 2032.
2011: 92 Points: Another outstanding effort from this estate, the Merlot-dominated 2011 Long Haul incorporates 13% Cabernet Franc 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, all of which were aged 21 months in 73% new French oak. It gives up ripe black fruits, currants, licorice, singed herbs and chocolate to go with a full-bodied, rounded and voluptuous style the palate. Nicely focused, with excellent purity of fruit, it-s already approachable and should be consumed over the coming decade.
2010: 92 Points: The 2010 Long Haul is a blend of 61% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot that comes from the top notch vineyard sources of Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, Red Willow and Force Majeure. Aged in 73% new French oak, it possesses a big, voluptuous bouquet of plum sauce, spice box, violets, wild herbs and chocolate to go with a full-bodied, supple and downright delicious profile on the palate. Already delicious and hard to resist, it should nevertheless have 7-8 years of longevity.
2009: 93 Points: Mark Ryan’s 2009 Long Haul – sourced from Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval with some Stillwater Creek in a supporting role – blends 27% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, and a jot of Petit Verdot with its Merlot. Profuse bittersweet floral perfume and black fruits make for an alluring aromatic display and are beautifully-integrated with mint, black tea, and bitter-edged resinous herbs on an expansive and polished palate, leading to the long, subtle interplay of a memorably complex finish. This ought to be worth following for at least a decade.
2008: 90 Points: The wines made with Bordeaux varieties begin with the dark ruby red-colored 2008 Long Haul, a blend of 63% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec sourced from the Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, and Hedges Vineyards and aged in 81% new French oak. It offers up an already complex aromatic array of pain grille, graphite, spice box, violets, black currant, and blackberry. Full-bodied on the palate, it exhibits layers of spicy black fruits, plenty of herb and spice notes, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish.
2007: 92 Points: The 2007 Long Haul Red Blend was sourced from 3 Red Mountain vineyards and is made up of 66% Merlot and 34% Cabernet Franc aged in 72% new French oak. Deep crimson colored, it delivers an aromatic array of roasted herbs, Asian spices, incense, a hint of balsamic, black currant, and black cherry. Plush on the palate with layered fruit and excellent depth, this succulent offering will evolve.
2006: 91 Points: The 2006 Long Haul Red Blend, sourced entirely from the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard in Red Mountain. A blend of 48% Merlot, 46% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot, it was aged in 54% new French oak. It is dark ruby-colored with an expressive nose of cigar box, espresso, mineral, cassis, and black currant. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it displays layered sweet fruit, a smooth texture, excellent depth and concentration, and potential complexity. Nicely balanced, it will evolve for 2-3 years.
2005: 91+ Points: The 2005 Long Haul “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard” is Mark Ryan’s impression of Saint-Emilion. It is a blend of 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Petit Verdot aged in 65% new French oak. Purple-colored, it puts out s stylish perfume of pain grille, clove, menthol, pencil lead, cassis and black currant. This leads to a plush wine with layers of dark fruit flavors, medium levels of tannin, and outstanding length.
2012: 91 Points: Hailing from top sites Klipsun, Kiona and Ciel du Chevalm, this wine is near equally split between Merlot (49%) and Cabernet Franc (44%) with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Notes of dark raspberries and flowers with abundant oak accents lead to surprisingly silky tannins for this appellation and producer.
2011: 93 Points: This could be labeled Merlot, which comprises three-quarters of the Bordeaux-style blend. Big, bold, dark and intensely aromatic, it’s a bit tight and tannic at first, but opens gracefully into well-layered, powerfully-structured flavors of violets and smoke, cherries and chocolate. Highlights of ground coffee and graphite extend through the finish.
2010: 90 Points: The production of Long Haul has doubled in 2010, and vineyard sources have changed, though most remain on Red Mountain despite the Columbia Valley appellation. The Bordeaux-style blend is 61% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. It has drying tannins that somewhat mask the tart berry fruit. There’s more stem and earth apparent in the palate, perhaps due to the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s quite Bordeaux-like, in style and finish.
2009: 95 Points: A blend of 64% Merlot and 27% Cabernet Franc, with splashes of Malbec and Petit Verdot, this is built for the long haul. Raspberries, cherries and rich chocolate run through this fine-tuned, focused wine. It’s deep, elegant and penetrating, with a show-stopping layer of pure mineral that is so powerful the fruit seems soaked in rock.
2008: 93 Points: A tight, tannic, tongue-staining wine. It’s scented with rich loam and exotic spices, and the fruit is firm and deep, with veins of black cassis and coffee running side by side. Give this a lot of breathing time.
2007: 94 Points: Here is a mouth-pleasing blend of 66% Merlot and 34% Cab Franc that builds the wine from the aromas out. The Merlot brings lush black cherry fruit to a broad midpalate, while the Cab Franc chimes in with roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes. The mix is perfect, tongue-coating and satisfying, right on through a long, peppery finish.
2006: 92 Points: A Right Bank style—48% Merlot/46% Cab Franc/6% Petit Verdot—this is meaty, spicy, herbal and earthy. There’s nothing subtle here, but flavors a’plenty, everything from tomato and strawberry to riper hints of black cherry, cassis and plum. Spice, black coffee and earth dominate the back palate, which slides into very dry, mouth-scraping tannins.
2005: 89 Points: Flavors open up immediately, ripe and sweet, with pretty cherry/berry fruit. Hints of a dark mineral and graphite undercurrent lead into a rather chalky finish, helped somewhat by a wash of chocolate that runs right through it.
2004: 93 Points: Also from Ciel du Cheval, this Pomerol-styled red was tasted a few weeks ahead of its planned November release. The black cherry fruit, with a dark mineral and graphite undercurrent, rides on a river of acid into the silky finish of coffee and buttery chocolate. Beautifully structured and—there’s no better word for it—hedonistic.
2003: 92 Points: The Long Haul is the winery’s “Right Bank” blend, it’s 48% Merlot, 45% Cab Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. All Ciel du Cheval fruit, it’s big but structured, melding buoyant cherry fruit to a gravelly mineral base. It’s a meaty, tannic wine, but the minerality keeps it lively and rich without being too heavy. Has some green-tea flavors in the tannins; the whole package is a jump forward in polish and grace from previous vintages.
2001: 90 Points: A muscular Bordeaux blend that mixes 46% merlot, 31% cab franc, 12% cab sauvignon and 11% petite verdot. There’s nice mid-palate concentration, showing black cherry, berry and currant. Just a hint of rubber ball, but the wine overall has an elegant profile, sleek and well put together.
2012: 92 Points: Dark, dense and expressive, with expansive black cherry, plum and spice flavors, persisting against crunchy tannins as the custard-accented finish expands.
2011: 91 Points: Firm in texture, but the grippy tannins play well with the ripe, gently herbal cherry and clotted cream flavors, which persist on a medium-weight frame.
2010: 92 Points: Supple, expressive and generous, with plum and blackberry fruit accented by smoke and licorice overtones, lingering deftly. Delivers power and a graceful finish.
2009: 91 Points: Firm and chewy, this is densely packed with spicy currant and plum fruit, and wrapped in gritty tannins. Finishes with expression. Deserves cellaring.
2008: 91 Points: Generous, focused and distinctive for its roasted red pepper and paprika nuances around a solid core of dark cherry and berry fruit, finishing firm and long.
2007: 91 Points: Dark berry and cherry fruit is shaded with coffee, spice and cream in this firm red, picking up a savory note at the end.
2006: 90 Points: Firm in texture, but gentle underneath, with some chewy tannins, offering almond-accented cherry and smoke flavors that linger on the solid finish.
2005: 91 Points: Richly aromatic, with layers of cherry, currant, red pepper and spice leading into a surprisingly refined, open-textured mouthful that finishes elegant.
2004: 91 Points: Beautifully crisp and flavorful, offering a range of blueberry, currant and creamy spice flavors against mildly gritty tannins. The flavors soar over the finish, persisting effectively. Needs time to soften.