• SN: 94

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    94

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Ridge 'Lytton Springs' 2011

Winemaker's Notes:

Fine tannins, moderate ripeness, and bright, focused fruit are hallmarks of the vintage. This elegant zinfandel is enjoyable now, and has the structure to evolve over the next eight to ten years.

Ridge Vineyards:
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone (third person on bench wearing tall boots), a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name... Read more
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone (third person on bench wearing tall boots), a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge's production facility. At 2600', it is surrounded by the "upper vineyard." In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s. From these vines — now the "middle vineyard"— new owners Dave Bennion and his three partners, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of "estate" cabernet. That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California's finest wines of the era. Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and '61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage. The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy—recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile's coast range—he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward "hands off" approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and zinfandel account for most of the production; syrah, grenache, carignane, and petite sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962. Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. A quarter century's experience with this vineyard had convinced us that it was an exceptional piece of ground. Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals. Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology. Our approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit's distinctive character and richness into the wine. Read less

Editorial Reviews for Ridge 'Lytton Springs'

Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
89065238,748
4.50 5
11/02/2013

A little spicy on the nose with super crushed berry fruit, a little poppy seeds, maybe even some fennel adding a provençal hint to the layered blackberry and brambly fruit with red fruit highlights. This has superb balance, clear and soil driven up front with fruit that hints at black currant, then soil and spice tones with a hint of dried herbs on the midpalate. Tannins are ripe and slightly pointy, acid is firm lending a tart note to the flavors, finishing with energy and fine tannins. Broad shouldered and narrow waisted with just terrific purity to the fruit and tannins show upon the finish. Vibrant and alive, this is great Zin. 94pts


Member Reviews for Ridge 'Lytton Springs'

Add your review
Snooth User: EMark
8478048,426
4.50 5
06/28/2018

A very elegant Zinfandel. Does that sound strange, or what? Quite often, Zinfandel (and this bottling is 84% Zinfandel) seems to hit with tons of berries, sticks, thorns, tea leaves and other things off the floor. This one enters with no fanfare. Light red fruit—not the big berry thing that I get, a lot, with Zinfandel and, definitely, not jammy. Very much resolve tannin and just noticeable acid tartness. This is why I love Lytton Springs.


Snooth User: EMark
8478048,426
4.00 5
12/23/2013

Looking forward to this. Beautiful purple in the glass. Very nice nose--lots of berries and a nice suggestion of caramelly oak. Slides easily over the tongue and gets a bit farther than usual before the Zinfandel bramble and blackberry fruit appear. This wine is the current release and it already seems so elegant. I have to go back to the palate entry and report that there is an effervescent sensation right at the tip the tongue. That is unusual. A big wine, and I'm going to try to buy more. US$27.19 at Total Wine.


Snooth User: minocencio
1383861749
4.00 5
10/28/2013

Four glasses


External Reviews for Ridge 'Lytton Springs'

External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
08/08/2014

The 2011 Proprietary Red Lytton Springs (82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignan; 14.4% alcohol) was harvested near the end of September. A juicy, rich effort, it displays abundant notes of raspberry and black cherry fruit, medium body, excellent purity, and good weight as well as richness. The strongest effort of these Zinfandel-based wines, it should drink well for 5–6 years.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
08/08/2014

Ridge made its first Lytton Springs wine in 1972, from vines planted at the turn of the 20th century on a saddle of hills that separates Alexander and Dry Creek valleys. Over the next three decades, Ridge consolidated ownership of the vineyard and built a winery on site, focused on wines from heritage vines on the north coast. This estate-grown zinfandel includes some petite sirah and carignane in the mix, pointing up the floral scent of the blueberry and dark cherry flavors. The wine has some vanillin aspects from aging in American oak (25 percent new), which will develop into complexity as it ages. A zin to cellar for ten years or longer.


External Review
Source: Premium Wine & Spirits
08/10/2014

The 2011 Lytton Springs is an intriguing wine. It is at once quite tannic, but also medium in body, as most wines are in this vintage. The structure of Petite Sirah is felt in the wine’s tannin. Dusty red cherries, flowers and sweet herbs wrap around the finish. There is a translucency to the 2011 that is highly appealing. In 2011, only 50% of candidate parcels were used in the final blend. The 2011 is 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignane. Anticipated maturity: 2015–2031.


External Review
11/01/2013

Four and a half glasses



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Fine tannins, moderate ripeness, and bright, focused fruit are hallmarks of the vintage. This elegant zinfandel is enjoyable now, and has the structure to evolve over the next eight to ten years.

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