50% Syrah, 50% Grenache
Dry Creek Valley
A prolonged winter and cold spring delayed the start of the growing season. The eight small parcels set their crop by early May and ripened through a warm summer for a late-September harvest. Grenache was destemmed and fully crushed; syrah—a more tannic grape—was left as whole berries. The two varieties fermented separately on their naturally-occurring yeasts, and were pressed after eight days to avoid overextraction of tannin. Uninoculated secondary fermentation took nearly eight weeks to finish. In spring, four grenache and five syrah lots were selected by blind tastings for this blend. Syrah’s deep flavors and firm structure complement the bright fruit, spice, and lively acidity of grenache. After twenty months in air-dried american oak barrels, the wine’s elements have integrated beautifully. Approachable now, it promises to continue developing over the next six to eight years.
Ridge became involved with grenache quite by accident when, in 1972, we first harvested the vines planted in 1902 on the eastern hills of Lytton Springs. Though we didn’t know it then, one of the hills 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, harvested separately, produced our first Grenache/Zinfandel. Ridge bought Lytton Springs’ western vineyards in 1995, acquiring a mixed grenache block planted in 1963, and a straight grenache block planted in 1991. We currently have 3.1 acres of mature syrah, and 6.6 acres of syrah (together with a small amount of viognier) planted in 2001.
Rainfall: 55 inches (above average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Wet spring and warm dry summer, with rain at end of harvest.
Harvest Date: 16 September – 9 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.9˚
Fermentation: 50% whole berries. No inoculation. Natural primary and secondary. Twice-daily pump-overs during the first three days, one or one-half per day thereafter. Pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (29% new, 10% two years old, 61% four years old)
Aging: Twenty months in barrel
Average Rating: 90.7
No. of Tasting Notes: 65
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