2005 Lytton Springs

2005 Lytton Springs

Wine Information

77% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignane




Lytton Springs


Dry Creek Valley

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

This elegant, full-bodied wine, with its firm tannins and intense, complex fruit, is among the finest of recent vintages.

Vintage Notes

The 2005 growing season was delayed by sustained spring rains and cool temperatures. Such conditions can interfere with flowering and fruit formation, but to our surprise the vines set a record crop. To assure intensity, we dropped up to half the clusters on the young vines. Still, reminiscent of 1997, every fermentor was soon filled. Unseasonably cool weather slowed the start of natural yeast fermentations; the resulting cold soak maximized the deep color. The thirty-one separate parcels completed a natural malolactic and were racked to air-dried american oak barrels. In assemblage, a third of the wine (some from young vines, some from vines picked overripe) was held out. This elegant, full-bodied wine, with its firm tannins and intense, complex fruit, is among the finest of recent vintages. Enjoyable now, it will develop further over the next ten years. JO/PD/EB (12/06)


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.

Growing Season

Rainfall: Sixty inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Wet winter and spring with a long growing season


Harvest Dates: 5 September – 7 October
Grapes: Average brix 25.1
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 25% one and two years, 55% three to five year old)
Aging: Twelve months in barrel


Quarterly Review of Wines (Summer 2008): Best of Show (Zinfandels) – “Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards has long understood that Zinfandel can be great when it’s fleshed out with something like Petite Sirah or Carignane. Other California winemakers are beginning finally to follow his lead, and Zinfandel, as a result, has never been better. Big, rich, ripe, well-structured, elegantly balanced, black fruit, French roast and nutty oak flavors.” (Rated: *****, Best of Show)

Los Angeles Times (28 Nov 2007): Wine of the Week – “It’s one of the best in recent memory. Take a sip. It demands another. And another. The 2005 Lytton Springs Zinfandel from the Ridge estate is one of the best in recent memory. Rich and opulent, laden with sweet spices, it has an elegance that few Zins achieve. Terrific with food, it can sidle up to just about anything wintry — roast duck or game hen, stews or braised meats, ribs and chops, even a hearty soup such as pasta e fagioli.” -S. Irene Virbila

Connoisseurs’ Guide (September 2007): “Ridge’s latest bottling under the Lytton Springs label achieves good balance between concentration and berryish fruit with the latter in clear command. It is structured along slightly tighter lines with acid-pushed tannins tightening things up at the end, but this is a wine destined for the cellar and needs a few years of patience before opening up.” Rated: 89 (*)

Los Angeles Times (27 June 2007): “From a Dry Creek Valley vineyard containing vines a century old, the 2005 is lush and sensuous, with a fragrance of briar and forest brush. It has a gorgeous, creamy, black cherry flavor accented by a touch of cassis and sweet oak, with a finish marked by cedar and grainy tannin.”

California Grapevine (Vol. 33, No. 2, April-May 2007): “Medium-dark purplish ruby; attractive, forward, intense, jammy, cherry and raspberry fruit aroma; medium-full to full body; rich, spicy, red berry fruit flavors with a touch of vanilla; nicely balanced and structured; medium-full to full tannin; tight finish; lingering aftertaste. Should continue to develop with some bottle aging. Very highly recommended.” (Group Score: 16.0 of 20 points, 0/1/0; My Score: 17 [90/100], second place)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 89.5

No. of Tasting Notes: 305

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