78% Grenache, 12% Petite Sirah, 10% Zinfandel
Dry Creek Valley
The combination of grenache, petite sirah, and zinfandel—though clearly not traditional to the southern Rhône—has thrived on a hillside at Lytton Springs East since the late nineteenth century. Forty years ago, another portion of the ranch was similarly interplanted. The berry character of zinfandel adds to the fruit’s complexity; the petite sirah contributes spice, and body. In 2001, we harvested the grapes over a three week period in September. They fermented on their naturally-occurring yeasts, and were pressed after six days. Following a natural secondary, the wine was racked to air-dried american oak barrels for aging. An elegant example of the grenache varietal, this fine estate wine shows the classic Rhône characteristics of bramble, gravel, and damp earth. It is enjoyable now, and will develop more fully over the next five to seven years.
Ridge became involved with grenache quite by accident when, in 1972, we first harvested the 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 produced our first Grenache/Zinfandel. Ridge bought Lytton Springs’ western vineyards in 1995, acquiring a mixed grenache block planted in 1963 and a grenache-only block planted in 1991. With this amount—and quality—to select from, in most years we can now make a wine dominated by the varietal.
Rainfall: Most in mid-winter, little in spring, water stress by August. (less than normal)
Bloom: May (normal)
Weather: Warm spring, summer, and early fall.
Harvest Dates: 4 September – 28 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.4°, average pH at crush 3.38.
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary. Twice-daily pump-overs during the first three days, once a day thereafter. Pressed at six to seven days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (13% new, 4% one year old, 1% two, 14% three, 48% four, and 20% five years old)
Time in Barrel: Seventeen months
Average Rating: 90.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 20
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