72% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane, 2% Mataro
96 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
96 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
94 Points (Cellar Selection) – Wine Enthusiast
93 Points – Zinfandel Chronicles
92 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
91 Points – Connoisseurs’ Guide
Dry Creek Valley
Blackberry, pepper and licorice notes on nose. Full-bodied with ripe plum, well integrated tannins and long, lingering finish. JO (6/20)
After several early harvests, 2018 began on September 4th, a more typical start-date for Sonoma County. Natural yeast fermentations were slow but steady. Color and tannin were plentiful after just three days of maceration. To manage tannin extraction, we limited pumpovers to once a day for all petite sirah and many zinfandel lots. While approachable as a young wine, this full, rich zinfandel will age beautifully for at least 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. Both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard were purchased in the early 1990s, (In the 1870s, under “Captain” William Litton’s ownership, the two were part of one property; spelling evolved to “Lytton” by 1903.) The vineyard is planted to zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals.
Rainfall: 25 inches (below normal)
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: 4 September – 18 October
Grapes: Average Brix 24.1˚
TA: 6.02 g/L
Fermentation: Full crush; 100% natural primary and secondary; pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (10% new, 25% one year-old, 15% two year-old, 15% four years-old and 20% five years-old).
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel
Hand-harvested, sustainably grown, estate grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; a total of 0.25 grams/liter tartaric acid; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 parts per million at crush, 96 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.
The Wine Advocate: 96 Points “The 2018 Lytton Springs is a blend of 72% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane and 2% Mataro. The nose is lush and open, with aromas of aniseed, red and blue berries, blood orange and earth plus touches of tobacco leaf and dried flowers. The medium-bodied palate combines intense, powerful flavors with a more ethereal, silty structure, and it finishes with loads of juicy layers. It’s stunning straight from bottle but will have more to give with time in the cellar.” -Erin Brooks (February 2021)
Vinous Media: 96 Points “The 2018 Lytton Springs is magnificent. Elegant, layered and so complete, the 2018 has a lot to offer, but it needs time to fully come together. Sweet red cherry, red plum, blood orange, spice, mint and rose petal open up in the glass. Bright acids and beams of tannin give the wine its vibrant energy. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2018 for at least a few years. Wow!” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
Wine Enthusiast: 94 Points + Cellar Selection “This well-balanced 72% Zinfandel blend is a classic. Concentrated in flavor and firm in structure, it is also silky in texture and so easy to sip and swallow. The nose is packed with hints of charcoal, black fruits and black pepper, while the palate boasts plump blackberry and tangy raspberry shaded by salt and pepper notes. Best from 2024.” -Jim Gordon (January 2021)
Zinfandel Chronicles: 93 Points “Bright crimson in color. Sensational nose of brambly red and black fruits, anise, earth and pepper. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Dark fruited with structure in spades. Black cherry, black raspberry and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. This will certainly be a long lived Lytton Springs. Tons of potential. Best over the next 6-8 years.” -Tom Lee (August 2020)
JebDunnuck.com: 92 Points “Checking in as 72% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignan, and the rest Mourvèdre, the 2018 Lytton Springs has a more nuanced, complex style that builds nicely with time in the glass. Red plums, mulberries, flowery incense, cedar, and a kiss of chocolate all define the bouquet, and this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture (which is the hallmark of this vintage), and ample chalky minerality on the finish. It’s going to benefit from a year or three of bottle age and shine for over a decade. I’ve had this cuvée with 20+ years of bottle age and it ages surprisingly well.” -Jeb Dunnuck (August 2020)
Underground Wine Letter: Outstanding Plus/Extraordinary “This is a beautifully crafted wine that can be enjoyed now or aged for many years into the future. Made with 72% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane, and 2% Mataro it has a dark ruby color and a deep perfume showing a myriad of dark fruits including cassis, plum, and blackberry. On the palate there is once again a great intensity of fruit with great flavor, intensity, and balance. It is full and rich yet also maintains an impeccable sense of elegance and finesse. With balance, flavor, fruit, and elegance intertwined in a seamless fashion this is stunning wine by any standard. Don’t miss it.” (August 2020)
Connoisseurs’ Guide: 91 Points “Perhaps not as outgoing as its predecessors have been at their best, this edition of Lytton Springs is nonetheless a very likable, firmly structured wine that, at its heart, shows off its Zinfandel pedigree and its Petite Sirah brawn around the edges. It favors the red berry end of the spectrum while also adding suggestions of black fruits before running into a flush of finishing tannins. Its heightened sense of polish does allow for early drinking, but its solid back end shows that this one will age well for at least a half-decade and very likely for more.” (January 2021 Issue)
Average Rating: 91.2
No. of Tasting Notes: 209
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