97% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel
96 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
93 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
93 Points – Wine & Spirits
93 Points – Zinfandel Chronicles
92 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast
Dry Creek Valley
Intriguing nose of leather, fig and rose petal. Full bodied palate with well coated tannins, mint, black olive and a long minerally finish. JO (6/20)
This is our tenth vintage of petite sirah from Lytton Estate. The majority of the fruit comes from the clay-rich soils at Lytton West. Here, petite sirah thrives, producing small-berried clusters with intense color. All of the grapes were destemmed but left to ferment as whole berries to manage tannins and enhance fruit. This full-bodied wine will age nicely over the next fifteen years.
The oldest petite sirah vines on our Lytton Estate were planted in 1901 and the youngest in 2008. We made our first wine from the property in 1972. In 2002, we began bottling portions of the petite sirah as a separate wine for a limited release, up until then it had always been included in the Lytton Springs Zinfandel. In 2003 we made another limited release and in 2009 our first national release.
Rainfall: 25 inches
Weather: Rains in April and May helped the vines get through the summer. We were already into our zinfandel harvest when the Labor Day heat wave hit; we quickened our pace and finished at Lytton Springs by 18 October.
Harvest Dates: 14-28 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.4˚
TA: 5.69 g/L
Fermentation: Whole berry fermentation. Natural primary and secondary; limited pumpovers to once daily; pressed at eight days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 10% one-year-old, 10% two-years-old, 30% three-years-old, and 5% five-years-old).
Aging: Fifteen months in barrel
Hand-harvested, sustainably grown, estate grapes; destemmed, whole berry fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush; 73 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: 96 Points “The 2018 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah is totally stunning. Bright, focused and powerful, the 2018 presents a breathtaking interplay of rich Petite fruit allied to a classic, old-school sense of structure. Dark blue/purplish fruit, leather, licorice, lavender, menthol and gravel are some of the many notes that infuse the 2018 with all those layers of flavor. The 2018 is a real stunner.” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
The Wine Advocate: 93 Points “Containing 3% Zinfandel, the 2018 Petite Sirah Lytton Estate has luscious aromas of cassis and blue fruits, turned earth, coffee and aniseed. The palate is full, concentrated and firm but offers great freshness and fruit detail in the mouth, and it finishes very long and layered. It’s approachable now if you love a big red, but it will also age well in the cellar.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Wine & Spirits: 93 Points “A few hardy petite sirah vines remain of the original 1901 planting at Lytton Springs; this wine comes from more recent plantings, ranging from 1987 through 2008. Their fruit takes petite sirah in a luscious direction, banishing any punishing tannins in favor of gentler spice-box notes and an underlying mineral structure. Above ground, it’s all sunny, a cacophony of blue, red and purple fruit, meaty richness and youthful energy. Take a bottle to Wacken next August for some post pandemic Open Air heavy metal, or cellar it for a decade if you’re into quieter pursuits.” -J.G. (February 2021 Issue)
Zinfandel Chronicles: 93 Points “Savory nose of black fruits, road tar and pepper. Full bodied with ample acidity. Dark and brooding with a shroud of tannins. Black cherry, blueberry, plums and earth on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Huge wine that is somewhat approachable now. The future is certainly bright. Best over the next 7-10 years.” – Tom Lee (August 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 92 Points “This dark-fruited, ripe, smoky wine has full-bodied richness, a rounded, opulent texture, good acidity, loads of currant and chocolate blue fruits, and a great finish. It picks up a chalky minerality with time in the glass and, despite being a big, rich wine, it has a terrific sense of freshness. It’s going to evolve nicely for 10-15 years.” -Jeb Dunnuck (August 2020)
Wine Enthusiast: 92 Points “This firm, muscular wine is one for the cellar. It matches charcoal and bitter-chocolate aromas with vivid, deep, roast blueberry, cranberry and woodsmoke flavors that will need several years to meld together with the chewy tannins. Best from 2028.” -Jim Gordon (January 2021)
Underground Wine Letter: Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary “The first impression is a great perfume that shows cassis and plum fruit intermingled with faint spice and mint nuances. On the palate the wine is packed with fruit showing cassis, plum, blackberry with a faint underlying cedar spice tinge. Already harmonious and delicious to drink this Petite Sirah also has the structure and definition to age beautifully for decades.” (August 2020)
Average Rating: 90.9
No. of Tasting Notes: 40
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