2008 Ridge Zinfandel Lytton Springs

Year: 2008
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 93
Red Wine
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74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignane

"Striking, intense black cherry and blackberry fruit with some spice and earth jump from the glass of the 2008 Lytton Springs, a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 5% Carignan. Dark ruby with a nice tannic overlay, the wine was aged 15 months in American oak. Spicy, impressively rich, with good acids and loads of concentration, this is a beauty to drink over the next 5-7 years. " (WA)

"In my humble opinion, Ridge makes the best Zinfandel in the country. Plain and simple. I’m admittedly not a huge Zin drinker because the super high alcohol, sweet style doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, some Zins are so sweet that I’m sure there is residual sugar, much like dessert wines. That fact got me wondering why I like the Zinfandel grape at the hands of Ridge’s capable winemaker. So, I read the label.

Though most modern wine labels focus on pretty pictures (gimmicks), Ridge actually includes useful information on theirs. There I discovered the answer to my question. Ridge Lytton Springs only contains 14.4% alcohol. It’s not uncommon to see Zins above 16%. It’s also perfectly dry. Since sugar equals alcohol, the picture is all of the sudden becoming clear. Reading on, the label actually says that they had to rush to pick their grapes before they got too ripe! Now, I love ripe wines as evidenced by the fact that I have written numerous times about my fondness of Chris Ringland wines! But for Zinfandel, a little restraint goes a long way. Parker agrees. He gave this one 93 points.

Lytton Springs pours a slightly transparent, but nonetheless dense ruby color. On the nose blueberry is complemented by vanilla oak flavors. The palate is incredibly balanced – ripe but with Bordeaux-like restraint. The Petite Sirah component, which makes up 2% of this wine, adds a beautiful depth and texture. This is an absolutely delicious wine.

I believe the 2008 is slightly better than the 2007, which was also very good. If you are a fan of Ridge wines, or like a more retrained style of Zinfandel, I would highly recommend this wine." (Nickel & Dime)

Winery Notes:
A warm spring and temperate summer brought veraison by the third week of July; we began harvesting the younger zinfandel in the last days of August. A week later, a heat wave ripened all the remaining fruit. To avoid excessive sugar levels, we picked non-stop. The thirty-four vineyard parcels fermented separately on their natural yeasts. Tannin and color extraction was slow, so we maintained twice-daily pump-overs for nine days, on average. After a natural malolactic, the wine was racked to air-dried american oak barrels for fifteen months of aging. Enjoyable now, this full-bodied yet elegant zinfandel will continue to develop over the next ten years. JO (11/09)

Tasting Notes - Ripe nose of raspberry, plum, pepper and chapparel. Blackberry, mineral and vanilla notes dominate the palate. Well integrated tannins typical of this classic vineyard add to the long finish. EB (6/10)