Taste Washington, Review #2 – Sparkman, Seven Hills, Mark Ryan

Here are a few more reviews from Taste Washington.  Again – in no particular order, other than the way we tasted through the event:

We’ve always enjoyed Chris Sparkman’s wines.  We got to know him and his wife a bit at an Auction of Washington Wines dinner a few years back, when they were just getting on a roll – I remember he had a great sense of humor.  These days Chris is a very busy guy, as he’s the Chairman of the Washington State Wine Commission, in addition to continuing to crank out excellent wines at Sparkman Cellars.

2012 Sparkman Cellars – Wonderland Grenache –  Sweet dark fruit on the nose, with just a hint of spice.  In the mouth, lush blackberries, dark plum and some baking spices.  This wine is tannic, but it has some juicy acidity and plenty of fruit on the medium-long finish to keep everything in balance.  This is a nice wine that should get better with a few more years in the bottle to develop more secondary flavors.  (92 pts.)

2011 Sparkman Cellars – Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon – Very dark black fruit, spice and a little chocolate on the nose.  In the mouth, the very dark blackberries, black currants and dark red bing cherries mix with a little tobacco, baking spices and dark damp earth.  This wine has great acidity and very fine-grained tannins, that kick in on the long sweet dark fruit and spice finish.  This is a wine to look for, it is beautifully complex with upside potential.  The wine can be enjoyed now or held for another decade or two as it ages gracefully.  (94+ pts.)

Moving on…we popped by Seven Hills:

2011 Seven Hills Winery – Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Very dark red and black fruit and a little spice on the nose.  In the mouth, sweet dark berries and ripe cherries mix with some baking spices.  This wine is tannic, but the tannins are ripe and fine-grained on the long sweet dark fruit finish.  This is a nice wine that will age well for another decade or more.  (92 pts.)

Then we went over to the Mark Ryan Winery.  We met Mark about the same time as we first met Chris Sparkman at the same Auction of Washington Wines event.  He will be forever remembered for his chivalry at that event by the ladies.  It was a chilly night and we were outside having dinner.  Mark ran back to his winery and grabbed a ton of fleece blankets – the women in their cocktail dresses were so very grateful!  (Way to make a lasting impression, Mark.)  Luckily for him, his wines are equally as impressive!

2011 Mark Ryan Winery – Long Haul, (Merlot based red blend) – Sweet red and black berries on the nose.  In the mouth, sweet dark red cherries and dark plum fruit combine with nice acidity and a little spice.  Very fine tannins come in on the long sweet dark fruit finish.  (92 pts.)

2011 Mark Ryan – Dead Horse, (Cabernet Sauvignon based red blend) – Very dark sweet black fruit, spice and a little dark chocolate on the nose.  In the mouth, nice ripe sweet dark blackberries and black bing cherries combine with dark chocolate and baking spices.  This wine has wonderful acidity making everything very lively in the mouth along with very fine tannins.  This is a very dark concentrated wine that is enjoyable now, but will improve with further aging in the bottle over the next 5-10 years and last for two decades or more.  (94+ pts.)

More reviews to come…



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