Zinfandel dominates, then Petite Sirah. West of Geyserville with more clay loam. More intense and a little more spicy than the Geyserville. A little more savoury but wonderfully aromatic. Deep, with some sweet American oak spice but all seamlessly integrated even now. Ripe plum, spicy dark red fruit. Firm, chewy but supple
In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted on the eastern half of the vineyard at the turn of the century. Both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard were purchased in the early 1990s, (In the 1870s, under Captain William Litton's ownership, the two were part of one property; spelling evolved to Lytton by 1903.) The vineyard is planted to zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals. Hand-harvested, sustainably grown, estate grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 parts per million at crush, 88 ppm over the course of aging); 0.6% water addition; .002 g/L tartaric acid; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions. Aged for 14 months in 100% air dried American barrels
Ridge Vineyards has a rich history as a California wine producing estate that dates all the way back to 1885. The modern era for Ridge Vineyards begins 10 years later in 1959. That was the year three Stanford scientists pooled their money to purchase the estate. The 1960s were an important decade for Ridge Vineyards. The Doctors bought the now famous Monte Bello vineyard, produced their first vintage of Geyserville as well as the debut vintage for Ridge Monte Bello vineyards, the 1962. Ridge Montebello became the first, important, vineyard designated wine in California. A few years later, the young Paul Draper joined the company as their wine maker. In 1986, Ridge Vineyards was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Paul Draper remained with the company and eventually instituted sustainable farming techniques. Ridge Vineyards shifted to 100% organic farming techniques by 1999. Much of the success for the wines of Ridge Vineyards is due to their terroir. The vineyards are located in perhaps the coolest, if the not coldest terroir in California for growing wine grapes. Situated only 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the vineyard site for the estates top wine, Ridge Monte Bello vineyard is located at extremely high elevations that range from 1,300 feet 2,700 feet above sea level. The higher elevations were where the owners first planted vines for the production of Ridge Mont Bello. Aside from the elevation, the soils contained large deposits of limestone. The flagship wine for Ridge Vineyards is Monte Bello. The wine is aged in a combination of 95% American Oak and 5% French oak. Ridge Vineyards owns a whopping 525 acres planted with vines. Of that total, 125 acres belong to the Monte Bello Vineyard. Ridge Monte Bello uses mostly American Oak barrels. There is a second wine for Ridge Montebello, Santa Cruz Vineyards. Ridge Vineyards produces a massive array of wine including Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, proprietary blends, assorted Rhone varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and their flagship wine, Ridge Monte Bello. Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello is probably the sole remaining California wine that was known for producing outstanding wine in the 1960s and 1970s that is still on top of their game today. The wine ages for decades and remains popular with wine lovers. In total, Ridge Vineyards produces close to 100,000 cases of wine per vintage. For all the grape varietals produced by Ridge Vineyards, the vineyards are not all situated in the Santa Cruz mountains. They have vines in Sonoma, the Alexander Valley and Paso Robles as well. Their oldest vines are used to produce Zinfandel and the Geyserville blend that comes from 130 year old vines. Ridge Vineyards is the first, popular, California wine produce to embrace the concept of providing consumer with back labels that provide a list of all the additive ingredients found in wine. The list includes items like; indigenous yeast, naturally occurring malolactic bacteria, oak, calcium carbonate, sulfur dioxide, tartaric acid, minimum effective S O2 and egg whites. With the 2011 vintage, Ridge Vineyards began producing a wine from 100% Petit Verdot, Torre Petit Verdot from the Monte Bello Vineyard. Only 275 cases are produced each year. Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay is whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented, and held on its lees for close to 11 months. For Red and white wines, the wines are racked, unfiltered and aged in 100% American oak. - Profile courtesy of Winecellar Insider
Vinous 95pts (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, it 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.