80% Grenache, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Zinfandel
Dry Creek Valley
As winter rains subsided, ideal spring weather helped set a large crop; as usual, we thinned clusters to assure intensity. A warm summer, cooling mid-August fog, and a final burst of summer heat matured flavors, and we harvested during the last week of September. Grapes from the oldest parcels were destemmed and fermented as whole berries to provide elegant tannins. The rest were also destemmed, but crushed, to extract their full color. The intense fruit of this vintage supported the use of twenty-five percent new oak during seventeen months of barrel aging. Zinfandel and petite sirah, interplanted in the hundred-year-old parcel, contribute spice and richness. Enjoyable now, this fine grenache will develop further over the next four to 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: Above average at 55 inches
Weather: A wet spring and warm, dry summer with rain at the end of harvest.
Harvest Dates: 25 – 28 September
Grapes: Average Brix: 25.2°
Fermentation: No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at six days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak (33% new and one year old, 19% two years old, and 48% four to five years old)
Aging: Seventeen months in barrel
Estate grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. 1.1 grams/liter tartaric acid. Minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 120 ppm over the course of aging). Pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
Average Rating: 88.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 78
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