Friday, February 19, 2010

Vonn-couver Olympics

So, we're a few days into the Games now and, I'll admit, the US athletes are putting on an impressive show. I suppose it only stands to reason that it time to open a big American wine to celebrate their great start and, in particular, Lindsey Vonn's gold medal in the Women's Downhill. It's one of the signature events of the Winter Olympics and she's touted as possibly winning five medals at these Games - and all of them could be gold.

As mentioned previously in this blog, Boo and I don't have a lot of American wine in our cellar. The exchange rate on our dollar hasn't always been that kind and there's always the problem of our liquor taxes up here once any bottle crosses the border. That being said, we've had this one for awhile and we'd been told that it's a treat waiting to happen.

368. 2004 Mark Ryan Dead Horse (Columbia Valley - Washington State)

Knowing very little about Washington State wines, I knew even less - let's say nothing - about Mark Ryan Winery when we picked up this bottle on a trip to Seattle a couple of years back. Boo and I simply went into one of the specialty wine shops in town and told them that we could only take four bottles home with us and still avoid the duty taxes. We asked them to pick four local wines that we NEED to try. This was one of them and, at $45US, we were holding out for and hoping for something special.

I learned, after a bit of surfing, that Mark Ryan is a boutique Washington winery that produces a number of highly anticipated wines. Perhaps the most sought are the two Bordeaux blends - Dead Horse is considered the winery's Left Bank Bordeaux as it is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon based (52%) with this vintage's balance being 24% Cab Franc, 17% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot.

The winery obviously gets a bit of a kick in coming up with names for all of its proprietary names. Dead Horse was chosen because all of the grapes were grown in the Red Mountain region on one the state's most prestigious vineyards - Ciel du Cheval - and that can be roughly translated to "horse heaven."

The winery has made it clear though, on occasion, to be sure and promote the fact that "No horses were hurt during the production of this wine & it was tested on humans."

We thought it lived up to its pedigree - a real thoroughbred of a wine. Lots of body, balance and fruit. Just what we like to see in our gold medal champions.

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