These notes pertain to the 2018 vintage as notes have not yet been published for the 2019 vintage
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.
“Ridge's 2017 Lytton Springs opens up beautifully, with bright acids that drive a whole range of red/purplish fruit intermingled with floral notes. Creamy and ample in feel, the 2017 boasts superb balance and pedigree. Readers lucky enough to own it should plan on cellaring it for at least a few years. 2025-2042.” 94 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Oct 2019
“The 2017 Lytton Springs is a step back from the incredible 2016 yet still has plenty to love. A blend of 74% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, and the rest Carignan, it offers a plummy, spice-filled effort that has medium-bodied richness, a bright spine of acidity, a sappy floral character, and a balanced, clean finish. Drink it over the coming decade.” 90 points, Jeb Dunnuck, Nov 2019--->