What we’re drinking: Mark Ryan Long Haul

Brynn writes:

Earlier this month I was invited to a surprise birthday party for my friend Kyle. Last year Kyle was 8 months pregnant for her birthday, so needless to say she didn’t feel much like celebrating the departure from her 20s to her 30s.

This year however her husband wanted to make sure she had a great day, so he organized an outing months in advance to make sure Kyle not only made up for missing her big 30th celebration, but also entered her 31st year in style.

We started the day by surprising Kyle on her doorstep and were whisked away by our own personal chauffeur — her husband — in a Cadillac rented for the day’s transportation. On our agenda for the day: lunch at The Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in Woodinville, followed by stops at some of Kyle’s favorite wineries.

First up was Mark Ryan Winery, a boutique winery located across the parking lot from the Hollywood Schoolhouse. Apparently everyone else who was in Woodinville to celebrate and taste wine also had Mark Ryan on their lists, because the cozy tasting room became packed shortly after we arrived. But that was fine with us, we were easily able to get through the five wines they poured and still enjoy great conversation.

While I wasn’t drinking, I did accept the pour, took two tiny sips then poured the rest of my glass into Kyle’s stemware.

Like I said, we tried five wines while there, but I’m only highlighting one of those today — don’t worry I’ll write about our absolute favorite wine tasted at Mark Ryan next time.

One of the wines that stood out to my palate was the 2009 Long Haul, winemaker Mike MacMorran’s take on a right bank Bordeaux blend. As we recently wrote, Merlot is the dominant grape along the right bank in Bordeaux. The breakdown of the 2009 Long Haul is 64 percent Merlot, 27 percent Cabernet Franc, 8 percent Malbec and 1percent Petit Verdot.

Here’s what the winery has to say about this wine:

Vineyard source: Klipsun Vineyard, Red Mountain; Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain; Kiona Vineyard, Red Mountain

Tasting notes: Black cherry, Italian plum, clove and toasted oak. Non-fruit aromas of cracked black pepper, red meat, tomato leaf, brined olives and cigar box. The palate is lush, filled with vanilla and mocha. The texture is bold with impressive structure and great length.

Best 2012 through 2017.

The wine is priced at $48 (leave it to me to like the expensive stuff). Only 550 cases were produced.