2016 Vintage Lytton Springs Harvest Report
Welcome winter rain brought relief to the drought-stricken vineyards of Sonoma County. Unlike the unsettled spring weather of 2015 that hampered flowering and reduced crop, calm weather in May provided excellent conditions for flowering, fruit set and crop levels rebounded to near normal. The rest of the growing season was unseasonably mild with highs mostly in the mid-80s, only reaching 100 degrees twice. This did not, however, slow the vines down as the renewed moisture in the soil seemed to trigger growth in the vines. Sampling started the second week of August and on August 20 we began a second early harvest in a row with the zinfandel at East Bench. Daytime temperatures at harvest were ideal resulting in a steady, even pace for picking the fruit from start to finish.
Natural yeast fermentations took off quickly and were steady and complete. Color and tannin in the fermenting juice were ample while malic acid and pH were more elevated than usual. This lower acidity contributes a supple feel to zinfandels even at this early stage. So far, twenty-six blocks from Lytton Springs vineyard have been combined for this year’s wine. Besides zinfandel, the petite sirah crop is particularly concentrated and should develop nicely over many years in bottle.
Overall the 2016 Sonoma County harvest offers wines of excellent quality with exuberant fruit and elegant structure.