90% Syrah, 10% Viognier
Dry Creek Valley
Summer on the north coast was dry and warm. Reduced by a third year of mild drought, the syrah crop was small; small clusters, packed with tiny berries, developed color and flavor for a late-September harvest. After destemming, grapes were further sorted to remove stem fragments. Viognier, from adjacent vines, was crushed on top to co-ferment on native yeasts. We pressed on day eight. Assembled in mid-November after malolactic, the wine aged in air-dried american oak barrels; to accentuate distinctive fruit and vineyard character, new oak was avoided. This tannic vintage required two years of barrel time for structure to soften. Its ripe fruit layered with mineral notes, this excellent syrah will be enjoyable over the next nine to twelve years. EB (8/11)
At Lytton Springs West, Ridge has just over three acres of twenty year old syrah noir, the California selection from plantings in 1916 and three and a half acres of younger French clones. These parcels are situated in the well-drained Sites soil on the bench overlooking Norton Creek. Since 1996, we have produced limited amounts for the Advance Tasting Program (ATP). Over time, the consistent quality showed syrah to be well matched to the climate and soil of Lytton Estate. As in the past, the 2009 vintage was co-fermented with a small amount of viognier from an adjacent parcel. Following harvest, it was assembled, in blind tasting, from the most intense and distinct lots.
Rainfall: Below average, at 34 inches
Weather: Dry winter saved by spring rains and followed by a warm, dry summer.
Harvest Dates: September 27 – 30
Grapes: Average brix 26.2˚
Fermentation: Whole-berry, destemmed, not crushed, fermented on indigenous yeast; pressed after eight days; natural malolactic.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (32% one year old, 17% two years old, 34% four years and 17% five years old).
Aging: 27 months in barrel
All estate grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and whole berry fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; 1.05g/L tartaric acid addition; minimum effective sulfur (35 ppm at crush, 152 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: 90.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 64
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