85% Zinfandel, 8% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignan, 2% Alicante, 2% Grenache
Dry Creek Valley
Dark ruby. Restrained, elegant boysenberry and black plum. Intriguing floral notes. A hint of menthol. Sweet, ripe black cherry and plum. Sweet lime in the finish. Well balanced and tightly-knit, with the potential to age beautifully.
With this fifteenth vintage of Ridge Lytton Springs, we have decided that the wine from old mixed plantings on Norton Ranch, Maple Vineyard and Lytton Estate is sufficiently distinctive to warrant dropping “zinfandel” as its varietal designation. Assembling the ’93, we drew upon twenty-three small, separate fermentations. The grapes were harvested fully ripe; the wine displays its characteristic fruit, and a less-typical elegance. Although perhaps most charming in its youth, it has the structure to age well for seven to ten years.
This is Ridge’s fifteenth vintage from zinfandel and mixed-varietal vines along Lytton Springs Road. The first was in 1972, from vines we now own and call Lytton Estate. With that vintage, we originated the designation Lytton Springs, which has since become a Ridge trademark. By 1991, when we purchased that vineyard, we had also made seven vintages from the neighboring Norton Ranch, and arranged to buy fruit from Maple Vineyard to the west. These properties are virtually contiguous, sharing the same climatic conditions and variations in soil. Located on the narrow bench dividing Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, they lie just north of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County. Each block (three from Maple, five from Norton, nine from Estate) is fermented separately at Ridge, but the similarities are such that we treat them as a single entity. With the release of the 1993, we are dropping the word “zinfandel” from the front label. We feel the wine’s style and character are sufficiently distinctive to use only “Lytton Springs”.
The grapes were picked throughout the month of September. For the second year in a row, they were all very ripe. Half were fermented with the grapes submerged—our traditional approach with zinfandel.
The petite sirah, grenache, carignane, and a third of the zinfandel were fermented with the grapes floating, today’s most widely-used method in both Europe and California. For increased extraction, most fermentation was done in small tanks. All wines were fermented on their natural yeasts. As always, the wine went to 100% air-dried american oak. Twenty-five percent was new wood, twenty-five percent one year old, the rest between two and six years old. This is a big, full wine, yet has a certain, somewhat atypical structural elegance. Its intense berry fruit, sweet spice, and excellent balance make it most enjoyable as a young wine. It will develop further over the next seven to ten years.
Average Rating: 90.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 55
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