75% Grenache, 16% Petite Sirah, 9% Zinfandel
Dry Creek Valley
A cold, wet winter followed by a warm spring launched the growing season early, and brought harvest two weeks ahead of schedule. The unique blend of varietals in this wine is attributable to the make-up of our oldest grenache block (1902), and our second-oldest (1963). Both are dominated by grenache, yet include petite sirah and zinfandel. These, and two younger unmixed grenache blocks, were harvested separately. The juice was aerated and gently pumped over the cap of skins for six days. We pressed after two weeks, and, following malolactic, racked to air-dried american oak barrels. In spring we blind-tasted, deciding on four exceptional lots to make this complex, structured grenache. Rich and full-bodied, it will soften further and develop beautifully during the next five 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: Less than 40 inches, below normal
Bloom: Early May
Weather: A dry winter and warm spring pushed the vines to early ripeness; harvest began by the end of August, two weeks early.
Harvest Dates: 28 August – 5 September
Grapes: Average Brix: 24.5°
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at thirteen days. Each fermentor’s press wine was held out.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak (26% new and one year old, 74% two to five years old)
Aging: Seventeen months in barrel
Average Rating: 88.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 57
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