LCBO Vintages Release
You’ll find the Lytton Springs vineyard in Sonoma County, south of Geyserville and north of Healdsburg. The first Lytton Springs bottling was produced in 1972 from vines that were planted on the eastern half of the vineyard at the turn of the century. (The vineyard’s name comes from one of the site’s original owners, Captain William Litton, who was steward of the land in the 1870’s.) This is a stony benchland vineyard that ranges over the varied, gravelly clay and clay-loam hillsides separating Dry Creek and the Anderson Valley.
Ridge is known for their sustainable vineyard practices. Lytton Springs, planted to head-trained spur-pruned Zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals, is no exception. The 2016 release reflects the vineyard’s composition, comprised of 69% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignane, and 2% Mataro (also known as Mourvedre). April rain disrupted flowering and reduced yield that year, but gave the vines enough water to survive a third year of drought. Mild temperatures in August were ideal for ripening.
Fruit was hand-harvested by vineyard parcel, then went through fermentation by native yeast in 34 small lots: the Petite Sirah was fermented as whole berries, the other varietals were de-stemmed and crushed. The 25 lots that best expressed the vineyard’s distinctive character were combined and transferred to air-dried American oak barrels (20% new, 80% second through fifth use) where the wine matured for thirteen months. The winery practices a hands-off approach in the cellar, and bottled the wine with minimal filtration and the addition of limited sulfur.
This is Zinfandel with structure and depth, certainly a cellar-worthy wine that will unwind with time. Deep purple in colour, the nose shows aromas of black pepper, cassis, and licorice. The palate is rich with layered plum and blackberry fruit, medium-bodied with silky tannins. The smoky notes of earthy, herbal California chapparal linger on the finish.
“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