This was the release party for the Lonely Heart but there were three wines being released: 2013 Board Track Racer (BTR) No Love, 2012 Mark Ryan Old Vines, and 2012 Mark Ryan Lonely Heart. As we have come to expect, there was some great food to go with these wines.
2013 BTR No Love – Visually, this wine was very pale. Much paler than the Black Love Pinot Noir that Mark Ryan normally releases. It has a see-through pale red color. On the nose, this wine has a lot of strawberry, a bit of raspberry, and a tiny bit of minerality. You can also smell a bit of bitterness and alcohol, which I did not like. On the palate, there was a lot of strawberry and some raspberry (light red fruit), you could taste the alcohol (which I disliked), there was a lack of acidity, and there was a good amount of tannin. Overall, I felt that this wine was definitely lacking. It was similar to some of the Lachini wines that I tasted a few months ago. This wine was definitely not my favorite and I understand why the winery decided not to give it the “Black Love” label.
2012 Old Vines – To be honest, I did not get the opportunity to fully explore this wine in the way I wanted. Normally, when I have a couple of similar wines in a tasting, I like to revisit the wines after having gone through them a first time. This allows me to get a better sense of the wines. During this event, however, I was not allowed to do this. For some reason, when I asked to revisit the Old Vines wine, I was told that I had already tasted that wine and that I had to move on (this was odd to me). That being said, I did write some tasting notes. The color was deep and red/purple (lighting was bad where I was sitting) but it was not as deep as what I typically expect from a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose, I got a lot of cassis, a bit of vanilla (I noted probably around 50% new oak), no greenness, some minerality (graphite), and dark fruits. I would argue that on the nose, this wine is still a typical Mark Ryan wine. On the palate, the wine has soft tannins (which surprised me), cassis, and dark fruits. It was very opulent, there was a good minerality, and I got earth as well as some forest floor. Overall, this wine had very good balance. It was also my favorite wine of the tasting (although with time, it is quite possible that the Lonely Heart would be better than the Old Vines).
2012 Lonely Heart – This is a big and very bold Washington State wine. In the glass, the wine is very deep to dark, clear, and has purple hues to it. On the nose, I got some cassis and dark fruits, I got a bit of a smell of alcohol, a bit of vanilla and possibly some tobacco. I thought that the nose on this wine was a bit closed. Perhaps it needed a bit more air since this is definitely a wine that should be cellared. On the palate, the experience was much richer/more opulent. There were some dark fruits, blueberries, some spice (black pepper maybe?), pencil shavings, some flowers (violets?), and dried earth. There were a lot of tannins and good acidity. The finish was quite long. Overall, this was a great wine. In the past, I have purchased the Lonely Heart for my cellar and to give as a present as I believed it was a good representation of what Washington wine had to offer. Sadly, the increase in price means that I will be looking elsewhere to introduce Washington State wines to friends. For 100$, this wine is no longer a good value to me. Instead, among Mark Ryan wines, I would recommend the Dead Horse for almost half the price.