Ridge: the Lytton Springs Winery

2004 Geysersville, Sonoma County, Ridge, 14.9%  $33 at the cellar door.
A blend of 75% zinfandel, 18% carignan and 7% petite sirah.   It’s really quite minerally on the nose, with just a bit of plums, violets and a hint of chocolate.  Lovely palate: rich, yet remarkably elegant with great poise.  Excellent structure.  Very Good Indeed+.  93/100

2004 Lytton Springs, Ridge, 14.5%  $33 at the cellar door
79% zinfandel, 18% petite sirah, 3% carignan.   Ridge made their first Lytton springs in 1972 from vines that had been planted at the start of the twentieth century.
This is so much more fruity on the nose than the Geysersville, with quite deep black fruits.   There’s quite sweet fruit on the palate with a velvety feel and tannins that develop in the mouth.  There’s a slight bitter grapefruit zest hint on the finish.   Very Good Indeed.   90/100

2003 Zinfandel York Creek, Napa Valley, Ridge, 14.4%   $30 at the cellar door.
This is a blend of 84% zinfandel and 16% petite sirah from York Creek on the Napa side of Spring Mountain outside St Helena.   The vineyard is owned by Fritz Maytag, who also owns the Anchor Steam Brewing Company.   It is a mountain-side vineyard, but is still quite warm.
The nose has perfumed blackberry fruit.   Quite soft and gentle on the palate, but with some huge tannins.   There’s something not quite right about this, and I think it’s a touch corked.   Melissa Baker, who had shown me round the winery and was taking me through the wines, and I look at each other with raised, inquisitive eyebrows.   We certainly agree there’s something wrong with it, despite it being down to the last third of the bottle and having been poured all afternoon to other visitors.   A second bottle is produced.   This has a huge, big smoky meaty gamey nose and a big spicy palate.   This is in tip top condition, and no doubt there was something a bit wrong with the first.   But actually, I think I prefer the first bottle.   On the second bottle, Very Good.   86/100

2003 Zinfandel Lytton East, Ridge, $30 at cellar door.
A blend of 76% zinfandel, 18% petite sirah and 6% carignan.   54 barrels were made of this wine, made from the black of the oldest vines (planted in 1902) in the Lytton Springs vineyard – the block directly outside the tasting room door.   It has intense, elegant blackberry fruit with a very pleasant lemony perfume.   Very precise, pure palate: deep, concentrated and remarkably complex.   Lovely finish, followed by huge length.  Very Good Indeed.   92/100

2003 Lytton West Syrah, Ridge, 14.8%
Syrah, blended with 9% viognier.   This has a really meaty feel on the nose, but with quite an odd astringent note, alongside the sweet, gamey black fruit and a floral note.   There’s very dark fruit on the palate, and it’s quite concentrated with a nice spicy meaty feel.   Very good finish, with quite a chocolatey feel.   Very Good Indeed.   91/100

2002 Petite Sirah, Lytton Estate, Ridge, 14.7%
This is the first petite sirah from the Lytton vineyard and is a blend of 84% petite sirah and 16% zinfandel.   There’s a nice spicy feel on the nose, with blackcurrants and blueberries.   It feels very young on the palate: quite concentrated and full with huge tannins – really chewy.   This is very young and indeed only just released.   It needs eighteen months to really come round I think.   Very Good.   87/100

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Last updated: 8 January 2008