Ridge Vineyards at Lytton Springs

by greg on September 13, 2009

Ridge Vineyards 

 

This article is one in a series of articles about our recent tour of California Wine Country. You can read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, the Summary, the Winery Dogs and the Restaurants as well.

Our last stop of the day was at Ridge.  Ridge initially made wines at their Monte Bello estate, a vineyard dating back to the 1880′s.  This estate is primarily known for it acclaimed Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon.  In the 60′s they began to produce Zinfandel and in 1991 the Lytton Springs property in the Dry Creek Valley was added to the estate.  Ridge was one of the originators of the modern, big, bold style of Zinfandel.

We’ve been big fans of Ridge Zinfandel since the 1989 vintage which was the first exceptional Zin we had had.  Through good fortune, we were able to eventually buy four and a half cases of the 1989 Sonoma County Zinfandel back in the early 90′s before it disappeared from the shelves.  We’ve been drinking various Ridge wines ever since.

In addition to the readily available Geyserville, Lytton Springs, and York Creek Zinfandels, the winery produces a number of small quantity single vineyard wines, most of which are field blends of various amounts Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignane, as well as occasional bottlings of Grenache, Carignane, Syrah, and Mataro (Mourvedre).  These latter are available only through the winery or the Wine Club.

The tasting room is in a new building next to the Lytton Spring vineyard which is just to the north of Healdsburg.  The building was built to conserve energy, using straw for insulation, part of an effort at sustainable farming.  As we are members of the Advanced Tasting Program wine club, we received complementary tastings as well as some special wines.

Wines sampled:
2005 Zinfandel, Pagani Ranch, 103 year old vines
2006 Zinfandel, Ponz Vineyard
2006 Geyserville, 70% Zinfandel, 18% Caringane, 10% Petite Sirah, 2% Mataro
2006 Lytton Springs, 80% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 4% Carignane
2006 Lytton Estate Syrah I, 76% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 3% Carignane
2006 Lytton Estate Syrah II, 76% Syrah, 22 % Grenache, 2% Voignier

The last two wines, though almost identical in the amount of each of the grape varieties came from different blocks and each has it’s unique character.

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