74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane
Dry Creek Valley
Ripe nose of raspberry, plum, pepper and chapparel. Blackberry, mineral and vanilla notes dominate the palate. Well integrated tannins typical of this classic vineyard add to the long finish.
A warm spring and temperate summer brought veraison by the third week of July; we began harvesting the younger zinfandel in the last days of August. A week later, a heat wave ripened all the remaining fruit. To avoid excessive sugar levels, we picked non-stop. The thirty-four vineyard parcels fermented separately on their natural yeasts. Tannin and color extraction was slow, so we maintained twice-daily pump-overs for nine days, on average. After a natural malolactic, the wine was racked to air-dried american oak barrels for fifteen months of aging. Enjoyable now, this full-bodied yet elegant zinfandel will continue to develop over the next ten years.
In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted on the eastern half of the vineyard 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.
Rainfall: Thirty inches (below average)
Bloom: Early May
Weather: Dry spring and warm, dry summer, with no sustained heat spells.
Harvest Dates: 28 August – 16 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.9
Fermentation: No inoculation; natural primary and secondary. Pressed at nine days.
Aging: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new; 55% one, two and three years old; 25% four and five years old)
Time in Barrel: Fifteen months
Vinous Media (July 2016): 94 Points. “The 2008 Lytton Springs is a powerhouse. Today, the 2008 is in the zone. The aromatics have begun to open up, the mid-palate retains gorgeous depth and all the elements are in sync. Sweet herbs, tobacco, menthol and licorice wrap around the imposing finish. This is a decidedly virile vintage of the Lytton Springs. Well-stored bottles will drink well for another decade or more, as the 2008 still has a lot to say.” -Antonio Galloni
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar (May-June 2011): “Saturated ruby. Dark berries, cherry, sassafras and smoky Indian spices on the nose, with an intense vanilla quality and a hint of dried violet. Opulent, palate-coating blackberry and mulberry flavors show a spicy, oaky quality, with gentle acidity providing lift. Dusty tannins add grip to the vanilla-tinged finish, which clings impressively. I have no doubt that this wine will absorb its oak with a few years or so of bottle age.” -Josh Raynolds (92 points)
Connoisseurs’ Guide (January 2011): “Ripe, but not overly so, and carefully crafted with a certain claret-like polish that is the Ridge signature, this year’s Lytton Springs bottling is a deep, very well-focused wine that keys on varietal berries with complexing notes of dusty and dry spice lending a little more range than everyday Zinfandel gets. It is nicely balanced with a fine spine of tannins for grip but maintains its sense of finesse and composure right to the end, and, if not so astringent that it cannot be enjoyed now, it is built to get better for several years and will hold for many more.” Rated: 93 (**)
The Tasting Panel (October 2010): “Bright and juicy with wild berries, sweet summer plums and racy acidity; smooth, seamless and complete with balance and elegance plus a long, homogeneous finish.” (Rated: 94)
Wine Advocate (Issue 187, 27 Feb 2010): “The 2008 Lytton Springs Proprietary Red, a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 5% Carignan, possesses a deep ruby/purple color and good acidity, and a more closed style than the Geyserville, with a firmer, more restrained overall personality. It should drink well for 7-8 years. (Not yet released)” -Robert Parker, Rated: (91-93)
Average Rating: 90.3
No. of Tasting Notes: 328
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