Ridge became involved with grenache quite by accident when, in 1972, we first harvested the nineteenth-century vines on the eastern hills
of Lytton Springs. Though we didn't know it then, one of the hills—planted in 1902—had a high percentage of grenache interplanted with small
amounts of zinfandel and petite sirah. We purchased the eastern vineyards in 1991 and identified the varietal percentages in each parcel; in
1992, those old mixed vines, harvested separately, produced our first Grenache/Zinfandel. Ridge bought Lytton Springs' western vineyards in 1995,
acquiring a mixed grenache block planted in 1963, and a straight grenache block planted in 1991.
We currently have 3.2 acres of mature syrah, and 6 acres of syrah (together with a small amount of viognier) planted in 2001.
Following a three-year drought,
the vines benefited from a long, wet winter. Late spring
rain disrupted bloom, reducing yields, and cool, foggy
days through summer slowed ripening. Harvested in
the first two weeks of October, the fruit was destemmed,
and fermented as whole berries on its natural yeasts.
Uninoculated malolactic fermentation finished quickly,
allowing an early assemblage. In blind tastings, four
grenache parcels (two pure, two field blends) were
combined with a young syrah. Together, these varietals
have produced a classic wine with great dimension of
fruit and structure. Extended barrel aging in air-dried
american oak has softened tannins. This excellent
vintage will be at its best over the next six to eight