80% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 4% Carignane
Dry Creek Valley
Nose: Intense black cherry, mint, vanilla, chapparal, pepper, tar and mineral notes. Palate: Sweet raspberry, plums, full, great depth with very elegant tannins, approachable but will soften and open up even more with age.
After long, hard rains in March, budbreak came by mid-April. In late July, extreme temperatures sunburned the west-facing blocks. These are planted predominantly to petite sirah, which took the highest loss. Veraison was late, and light rains further slowed maturation. We thinned the damaged clusters, and harvested the remaining fruit, fully ripe, between mid-September and mid-October. As tannin developed, we reduced pumpovers, and pressed at dryness on day nine. After a natural malolactic, twenty of the thirty-four blocks were selected for the 2006. This classic Lytton Springs was barrel aged for a full fifteen months. Approachable now, it has the structure to be cellared and enjoyed over the next ten years. JO (1/08)
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, a small amount of mataro (mourvedre) and grenache.
Rainfall: Fifty-five inches (above average)
Weather: Wet spring and warm, dry summer, with light rain mid-harvest.
Harvest Dates: 12 September – 16 October
Grapes: Average Brix 25.0
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (22% new; 42% one, two and three years old; 36% four and five years old).
Aging: Fifteen months in barrel
Edmonton Journal (2 September 2009): Wine Picks – “Enthusiasts can’t say they know Zinfandel until they have tasted this wine. It’s 80-percent Zin, with a splash of Petite Sirah and Carignane. Intense black cherry, mint, vanilla, pepper and mineral notes on the nose, with sweet raspberry and plums on the palate. It has velvety tannins and is approachable now, but will cellar for a decade.”
The Tennessean (8 July 2009): “Aroma: The nose reminded us of a pina colada, with pineapple juice, coconut milk, milk chocolate, cocoa dust and pine. Palate: We tasted bright fruit, with lots of alcohol, especially on the really nice finish. Verdict: This was a really big wine with the best balance in the tasting. It ranked first in our voting.”
Wine & Spirits (February 2009): Year”s Best Zinfandel – “Bright spice drives through the complex dark fruit of this old-vine blend, which includes petite sirah (16%) and carignane (4%). The zesty acidity makes it more versatile than most zins, especially with roast turkey or duck with cherries.” Rated: 91
Connoisseurs’ Guide (January 2009): “Although it teases with touches of spice and a nice sense of oak-sweetened berries, this gutsy young Zinfandel is relatively tightly structured at this point. It strikes us as one best set aside for several years, and its positive impressions of underlying fruit make keeping a fairly safe bet.” Rated: 89 (*)
International Wine Cellar (November-December 2008, Issue 141): “Deep ruby-red. Vivid red and dark berry aromas are complemented by dusty floral and mineral notes, with a suave rose quality gaining power with air. Deep cassis and bitter cherry flavors are energized by tangy minerality, picking up exotic floral pastille and candied licorice nuances of the back end. Smooth and sweet, with fine-grained tannins and a long, sappy finish. This is balanced to reward at least another five to seven years of patience.” Rated: 92
Wine Spectator (29 September 2008): “Distinctive if unapologetically rustic, with wild berry, licorice and smoky dill aromas and ripe, powerful blueberry, tar and leather flavors wrapped in muscular tannins. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane. Best from 2010 through 2013.” (Rated: 88) -Tim Fish
Average Rating: 89.1
No. of Tasting Notes: 479
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