A few quick thoughts on the 2013 Ridge Lytton Springs from Sonoma County.
The modern history of Ridge began in the 1960s when several Stanford engineers–Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen and Howard Ziedler–started making wine from the legendary Monte Bello vineyard. In 1969, Paul Draper joined the winery where he stayed as head winemaker and CEO until his retirement in 2016.
The vineyard is field-planted but is divided into 30 parcels that are harvested and fermented separately. This allows the winemaking team to make individual decisions on each parcel such as fermenting the Petite Sirah as whole berries instead of crushing.
The 2013 Lytton Springs is a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane and 2% Mataró/Mourvèdre. The wine is aged in 100% American oak (20% new) for 14 months. Around 12,400 cases were made.
Medium-plus intensity nose. A mix of dark, ripe fruit–blackberry and currants–with anise and black pepper spice. With some air a smokey element from the barrels come out.
On the palate those dark fruits carry through and taste riper, almost like pie filling. However, the medium-plus acidity more than balances the full-bodied weight of the fruit. Medium-plus tannins are ripe with the vanilla from the oak rounding them out. The oak also adds intriguing chocolate notes which, coupled with the spices from the nose, is reminiscent of dark Mexican chocolate. Long finish lingers on the chocolaty spice.
Tasting wines like the Ridge Lytton Springs is a great reminder of how complex old vine Zinfandel and field blends can be.
As much as I adore Bordeaux blends and varieties, it’s not always the easiest task to find something this delicious in the equivalent $35-40 prince range from those grapes.