94% Syrah, 6% Viognier – Organically Grown
94 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
94 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
93 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
92 Points – Wine & Spirits
Dry Creek Valley
Deep ruby color. Intense dark berry fruit aromas layered with sweet oak. Both red and black fruits on entry, full bodied, moderately tannic, lively acid, and great length to finish. EB (7/18)
Excellent weather during bloom helped set a full crop, and a warm summer ripened the grapes for an early-September harvest. Quick fermentations resulted in balanced extraction. Once malolactics finished, the wine was assembled, and racked to american oak barrels to clarify naturally. Intense flavor and rich texture give it immediate appeal; it will be at its best over the next six to eight years.
At Lytton Springs West, Ridge has just over three acres of twenty-four 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 of syrah 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 2014 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: 18″ (below average)
Weather: Very dry and cold December and January; most of the rain fell February through April. Cool spring and early summer delayed ripening.
Harvest Dates: 6 September
Grapes: Average brix 25.3˚
Fermentation: whole-berry, destemmed, not crushed, fermented in open-top tanks on indigenous yeast; pressed after five days; natural malolactic.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (0% new, 41% one year, 38% two years old, and 21% three years old).
Aging: 21 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; oak from barrel aging; 0.1g/L tartaric acid addition in one of five fermentors; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (30 ppm at crush, 110 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.
Vinous Media: 94 Points “The 2014 Syrah Lytton Estate is just superb. Cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, dried herbs, menthol and tobacco all grace this super-expressive, unctuous Syrah. A wine of real character and nuance, the 2014 has everything it needs to develop beautifully in the cellar for many years to come. I will not be surprised if it shows even better with more time in bottle.” – Antonio Galloni (October 2019)
The Wine Advocate: 94 Points “Medium to deep ruby-purple, the 2014 Syrah Lytton Estate (6% Viognier) gives up warm boysenberries, blueberries, black cherries and blackcurrants with white pepper, sage brush, fried herbs, iron, toasted coconut and bitter chocolate with accents of game meats and red fruit sparks. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with fruits, spices and savory nuances—great concentration!—with firm, pleasantly chalky-textured tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long and layered.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 93 Points “The 2014 Syrah Lytton Springs, which is released only directly to consumers (or in the tasting room), includes 6% Viognier and was brought up all in barrel. It offers a great nose of blackberries, ground herbs, pepper, and violets that develops nicely with time in the glass. Nicely balanced, medium to full-bodied, and with a beautiful sense of elegance, it should drink nicely for another decade or so.” – Jeb Dunnuck (February 2019)
Wine & Spirits: 92 Points “John Olney coferments this syrah with viognier, building on the blueberry perfume of the fruit, adding to the tangy blackberry richness. All the fruit is cut by coriander-like spice, bringing out a porky umami character. The flavors feel unencumbered, as juicy as fruit straight from a blackberry patch or, in this case, organically farmed vines at Lytton Springs West. Open it when there’s braised pork shoulder for dinner.” – J.G. (October 2019)
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine: 90 Points “Rich and somewhat spicy with a decided bent to its grape’s slightly gamy side but also a wine that is generously endowed with well-ripened, blackberry fruit, the latest from Ridge is, at every stop, an explicit, fully fleshed-out Syrah that maintains excellent varietal focus throughout. It shows a touch of glyceriny roundness that balances its underlying firmness, and, while its nominal tannins provide it the structure to age, they are never overly tough. It will turn the trick in the near term as a tasty foil to a well-seasoned, roasted leg of lamb, but there is clear room for growth here, and another four or five years of cellaring will only work in its favor.” (October 2019)
Average Rating: 90.5
No. of Tasting Notes: 44
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