79% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 3% Carignane
Dry Creek Valley
Budbreak was early, and mild spring weather contributed to a uniform — if moderate — set. Summer temperatures were warm, but never extreme. In mid-August, three weeks before we typically harvest, our interns began to practice the critical art of sampling. To our surprise, sugars were already up; more important, the grapes had developed full flavor. Starting immediately, we picked non-stop, finishing by Labor Day — when we normally start. No sooner were the grapes in than temperatures soared. Natural fermentations began quickly. Color and tannin extracted so easily that we cut circulation of juice over cap, and pressed many tanks before dryness. After a natural malolactic, the wine aged for thirteen months in airdried american oak barrels. Enjoyable as a young wine, this excellent zinfandel will continue to develop in complexity over the next ten years. JO/PD (10/05)
In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted here at the turn of the century, and purchased both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard in the early 1990s. (In the 1870s, under “Captain” William Litton’s ownership, the two were part of one property; spelling evolved into “Lytton” by 1903.) The vineyard is planted to zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals: petite sirah, carignane, grenache, and a small amount of mataro
Rainfall: Less than forty inches
Bloom: Early May
Weather: A dry winter and warm spring pushed the vines to early ripeness; harvest began by the middle of August, fully three weeks early. Yields of zinfandel were slightly down, and quality excellent.
Harvest Dates: 21 August – 5 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.4.
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at seven days on average.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 30% one year old, 50% two to five years old).
Aging: Thirteen months in barrel
San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate (12 Jan 2007): “Though Ridge harvested nearly three weeks early at its Dry Creek plot, the fruit flavors are thoroughly lush. Silky black fruit on the nose, with subtly toasty oak, dried herbs and a fine, dusty minerality. Gets a touch rougher and more leathery on the finish, but it keeps evolving in the glass. Adding complexity are 18 percent Petite Sirah and 3 percent Carignane.” -Jon Bonne – Rated: ***
San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate (Dec 2006): one of the Top 100 Wines of 2006 – “Elegant and balanced in a way few Zinfandels are today, it eschews power and high alcohol for fresh-tasting black fruit, gentle oak sweetness and spice, and refreshing acidity.”
International Wine Cellar (Sep/Oct 2006, Issue 128): “Bright ruby. High-toned aromas of blackberry and fruitcake. Juicy, creamy-sweet and firmly built, with terrific intensity of tangy berry fruit. High-toned, youthful and firmly tannic wine with a piquant finishing flavor of pomegranate.” Rated: 91
Wine Advocate (30 Jun 2006): “The famed 2004 Lytton Springs (a blend of 79% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, and 3% Carignane) tips the scales at 14.5% alcohol. This elegantly-styled Zin reveals a dark ruby/purple color, notes of crushed rocks, black raspberries, and sweet oak, a distinctive minerality, sweet fruit, decent acidity, wonderful definition as well as freshness, and an excellent, long finish. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.” Rated: 90
Wine & Spirits (Jun 2006): Year”s Best Zinfandel – “An unusual vintage of Lytton Springs, this has a distinctive coolness to the fruit. Peppery and purely zin, it would be delicious with the teriyaki ribs at Oolah in San Francisco.” Rated: 92
Connoisseurs’ Guide (May 2006): “Taking its accustomed place at the head of the class, this year’s Lytton Springs bottling from Ridge is a textbook example of the deep and expressive fruit that marks Dry Creek Zinfandel at its best. It is an optimally ripened wine that has range and richness without being in the least compromised by heat, and its careful use of complementary oak and its fine sense of structure make it a most impressive Zinfandel for everyday use as a most tasty and ageworthy table wine.” Rated: 95 (***)
California Grapevine (Feb-Mar 2006): “Medium to medium-dark ruby with purplish tinges; attractive, somewhat restrained, herbal, plummy, spicy, slightly jammy, black cherry and blackberry fruit aroma; medium-full to full body; spicy, plummy, dark currant and blackberry fruit flavors; well balanced; slightly hard on the finish; medium-full to full tannin; lingering aftertaste. More of a claret style of Zinfandel that should continue to develop with several more years of bottle aging. Highly recommended.” (Group Score: 15.7 of 20 points, 0/1/0; My Score: 16.5 [89 of 100 points], third place)
Average Rating: 89.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 299
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