70% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane, 3% Mataro
92 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
Dry Creek Valley
All the zinfandel was fermented with the grape skins held below the surface of the liquid by a grid (submerged cap). The complementary varietals fermented with the more typical floating cap of skins. Thorough juice circulation in all tanks provided this vintage with firmer tannin structure than any since 1974. After natural (uninoculated) primary and secondary fermentations, the wine was assembled from a selection of the eighteen separate blocks, then racked to air-dried american oak for fifteen months of aging. The full, ripe character of the vintage allowed us to increase the number of new, one-, and two-year-old barrels without overwhelming the intense fruit. Though 1999’s modest set and serious thinning resulted in less wine than average, quality is excellent. This fine Lytton Springs will show most fruit over the next five to seven years, but has the potential to age beautifully beyond that.
This year we come of age—celebrating our twenty-first vintage from this historic vineyard. Located on the benchland and rolling hills separating Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, it is just north of Healdsburg, in Sonoma County. Today, Lytton East and West— purchased by Ridge in the early nineties—are separated by several small residential parcels. In the 1870s, under “Captain” William Litton’s ownership, they were all part of one property; the spelling evolved into “Lytton” by 1903. The vineyard is planted primarily to zinfandel and some of its principal complementary varietals: here, they include petite sirah, carignane, a small amount of mataro (mourvèdre), and century old grenache. After years of including “zinfandel” in a prominent position on the front label, we ceased to use it in 1993, placing the greater focus on the site’s distinctive character. For the second year in a row the growing season had a record late start, moving harvest back by an entire month. Unlike last year, there were no August rains to trouble us; the weather continued fair and clear through mid-November. We harvested from late September through the first week of November (another record) as each block ripened fully.
JebDunnuck.com (February 2019): (92 Points). “The 1999 Lytton Springs (mostly Zinfandel) is still going strong, offering up lots of spice and truffle notes as well as sweet tobacco and plums. Still vibrant and pure on the palate, with no signs of cracking, it shines for its beautiful complexity and length. It’s certainly drinking at point.” – Jeb Dunnuck
The Wine Advocate (October 2015): 92 Points “Made from 70% Zinfandel, 17% Petit Verdot and the rest Carignan and Mataro, the 1999 Lytton Springs is a gorgeous wine that’s a testament to the ageability of the Zinfandels made at this estate. Supple, sexy, and ready to go with lots of blackberry, cedary spice and truffle, it’s medium to full-bodied, has ample mid-palate fruit and a seamless, silky texture. It’s drinking at point and not going to get any better, but it should have no problems holding nicely going forward either.” – Jeb Dunnuck
Average Rating: 91.6
No. of Tasting Notes: 115
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