50% Syrah, 50% Grenache
Dry Creek Valley
Following a three-year drought, the vines benefited from a long, wet winter. Late spring rain disrupted bloom, reducing yields, and cool, foggy days through summer slowed ripening. Harvested in the first two weeks of October, the fruit was destemmed, and fermented as whole berries on its natural yeasts. Uninoculated malolactic fermentation finished quickly, allowing an early assemblage. In blind tastings, four grenache parcels (two pure, two field blends) were combined with a young syrah. Together, these varietals have produced a classic wine with great dimension of fruit and structure. Extended barrel aging in air-dried american oak has softened tannins. This excellent vintage will be at its best 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: 42 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: Cool, late spring. Cold summer; two days of damaging heat in late August and a long, mild fall.
Harvest Dates: 1 – 14 October
Grapes: Average Brix 28.2˚
Fermentation: 100% destemmed, uncrushed and fermented as whole berries in open top tanks. No inoculation. 100% natural primary and secondary fermentations. Juice circulated through the cap of skins daily. Pressed at seven days.
Barrels:Air-dried american oak (5% new, 60% one year old, 15% three years old and 20% five years old)
Aging: Nineteen months in barrel
All estate grown grapes, hand harvested. Destemmed and left uncrushed. Fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria. During fermentation, 0.68 grams/liter tartaric acid added. Minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 138 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: 57
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