Lytton Springs bottlings are generally quintessential Zinfandel. On Ridge’s East Lytton Estate, Zinfandel grows on seven hilltops. Petite Sirah surrounds the Zinfandel on six, Grenache on the seventh – an unusual configuration. Ridge’s West Lytton Estate, on the other hand, is a magnificent hodgepodge of grapes, including more Zinfandel, which seems at home here. These balanced, powerful Zins become more nuanced with age.
Ridge is a minimal-intervention winemaking pioneer. Fruit is sustainably-grown, hand-picked, de-stemmed, and crushed (except the Petite Sirah, which was whole-berry pressed), then fermented by native yeast. Naturally-occurring bacteria ease the wine through malolactic fermentation before the wine is transferred to new and neutral American oak. Minimal sulfur is introduced.
The wine is classic Dry Creek Valley, showing the potent ripe boysenberry and blackberry of old-vine Sonoma Zinfandel, along with notes of leaf and briar. Intricacy comes in part from the blend, a thoughtful combination of 69% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane, and 2% Mataro. Acidity and tannin structure are firm, but not overwhelming. In youth, fruit predominates.
“The 2014 Lytton Springs is another absolutely gorgeous wine. Perhaps because of its relatively recent bottling, the 2004 feels a bit compressed, but there appears to be plenty of complexity and depth hiding behind the acidity and tannin. Far from an easygoing Zinfandel, the 2014 Lytton is a wine to buy and cellar for at least a handful of years. The wine’s richness, persistence and vertical intensity all lead me to believe it will be special in time. Black cherry, pomegranate, mint and sweet spices meld into the resonant finish. A kick of tannin from the Petite adds personality, something the 2014 has in spades. 2019 – 2034”
94+ points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2016
“Sourced from the Dry Creek Valley, this wine is a blend of 69% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane, and 2% Mataro (Mourvedre). As this wine begins to open it releases aromatics of dried raisin, black plums, red cherries with a spicy, nutmeg component at the back end. There are beautifully concentrated flavours of black tea, sage, black cherry, eucalyptus and hints of cranberry that sit alongside some gritty tannins. This needs another year to soften but shows some wonderful potential at this juncture. (Best 2017-2028)”
93 points, International Wine Report, Oct 2016
“More fresh and elegant than the Geyserville, with a touch more focus, the 2014 Lytton Springs is another beautiful wine from this estate. Made from 69% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah and the rest Carignan and Mourvèdre, aged in 20% new American oak, it boasts fabulous notes of plums, blackberry jam, toasted spice and licorice as well as medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate depth and notable tannin. The Geyserville is a touch sexier, but this will be longer lived. Give bottles 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy over the following decade or more. 2018 – 2028”
91+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2016