93% Zinfandel (Primitivo), 4% Carignane, 3% Petite Sirah
Dry Creek Valley
Each year, having separately harvested, and fermented, the various parcels planted at Lytton Springs, we select the wines that best represent the vineyard’s character, and best complement each other in assemblage blind tastings. Occasionally, one of these, though outstanding alone, does not integrate well with the rest. This was the case in 2007. A section of the vineyard is planted to primitivo, a grape brought from Croatia to southern Italy in the early nineteenth century— the same grape that came from Croatia to Vienna, then, as zinfandel, to America. 2007 is the first vintage in which we have bottled it on its own. After a ten-day natural-yeast fermentation, the wine aged for twelve months in air-dried american oak. Exuberant fruit, full body, and firm structure ensure its appeal over the next five to six years.
In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted here at the turn of the century. We 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). Occasionally, certain of the vineyard blocks may be of excellent quality, but are held out of the Lytton Springs because of over-ripeness, or failure to integrate during assemblage tastings. We combine these to make the Lytton Estate. This year, however, we decided to bottle separately our only block planted to an Italian primitivo clone of zinfandel. Like the Lytton Springs, it is fermented using only naturally-occurring yeasts, and is aged in air-dried american oak.
Rainfall: Thirty-five inches (below normal)
Weather: Dry spring and typical warm, dry summer. No sustained heat spells.
Harvest: 22 August
Grapes: Average brix 27.8˚
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary. Pressed at ten days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new, 40% one year old, 40% two years old).
Aging: Twelve months in barrel
All estate-grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and crushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on naturally-occurring bacteria. Two grams/liter tartaric acid and a total of 4.6 % rehydration during fermentation; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 260 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: 90.4
No. of Tasting Notes: 67
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