On Ridge’s East Lytton Estate, Zinfandel grows on seven hilltops: Petite Sirah surrounds the Zinfandel on six, Grenache on the seventh. It’s an unusual configuration. The West Lytton Estate vineyard, on the other hand, is a magnificent hodgepodge of grapes, including more Zinfandel, which seems at home there. The balanced, powerful wine made from this fruit ages beautifully, becoming more nuanced and expressive with time.
Ridge is a minimal-intervention winemaking pioneer. The sustainably-grown fruit was hand-picked, de-stemmed, and crushed (except the Petite Sirah, which was whole-berry pressed), then fermented by native yeast. The winery managed colour and tannin extraction by limiting pump-overs to once daily. Following naturally-occurring malolactic fermentation, 24 of the 33 small fermentation lots were selected for their concentrated fruit and elegant structure. These lots were transferred to American oak (15% new, 85% used) for 14 months maturation. Handling, added sulfur, and fining were kept to a minimum.
This is an excellent vintage: appealing now, and certain to improve over the next decade. The wine shows the potent jammy fruit of old-vine Sonoma Zinfandel with notes of brambly raspberry, pepper, mint, and toasted oak. That intricacy comes in part from the blend, a thoughtful combination of 74% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 8% Carignane, and 2% Mataro (Mourvedre). Acidity and tannin structure are firm, but not overwhelming.
“The 2016 Lytton Springs is a powerful, dense wine. Black cherry, plum, lavender, new leather, cloves, licorice and menthol flesh out. Deep, plush and richly textured, the 2016 Lytton Springs packs a real punch. The 23% Petite Sirah is felt in the wine’s darkness and overall gravitas. There is more than enough richness and structure to support many years of fine drinking. What a gorgeous wine this is. 2022-41.”
95 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Aug 2018
“This blend of 69 per cent Zinfandel, 23 per cent Petite Sirah, six per cent Carignane and two per cent Mataro has an x-factor attraction, in that all components are elevating each other to greater heights. The sum is more than the parts. Attractive red berries with blackberries, blackcurrants and red plums, too. This is assertively structured and will deliver best from 2022.”
94 points, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2018
“This was a great set of recent releases from Ridge […] Ridge boasts as illustrious a history as any winery in California, but they certainly aren’t resting on their laurels. Indeed, a persuasive case could be made that Ridge is currently producing the best wines they’ve ever made. The 2016 Lytton Springs is also excellent, offering up aromas of crushed currants, plums, candied violets and baked clay. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and youthfully chewy, with a crunchy core of fruit and fine-grained but firm structuring tannins. It’s a bit more burly and rustic than the satiny, sumptuous Geyserville this year—no surprise, given that the blend contains fully 23% Petite Sirah (alongside 69% Zinfandel, 6% Carignane and 2% Mataro).”
92+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, May 2018