Wine of the Week: 2008 Ridge Lytton Springs

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2008 Ridge Lytton Springs.

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by four engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in 1959, and producing at half-barrel of wine.

Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello , Geyserville, Lytton Springs, and their newest property East Bench.

The Wine

Lytton Springs (along with the Ridge Geyserville have been benchmarks for California Zinfandel focused blends for decades.  Fruit for this wine is sourced from the Lytton Estate, which is located on the bench and hills separating Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys, just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma County.  The vineyard is composed of Lytton East planted to 100-plus-year-old Zinfandel, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Carignane (42 acres), and Lytton West planted to Zinfandel, and small amounts of Carignane, planted 1953 (33 acres); Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Mataro (Mourvèdre), planted 1989 to 1998 (54 acres).

In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted on the eastern half of the vineyard at the turn of the century, and purchased both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard in the early 1990s…

It’s a blend of 74% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, and 5% Carignane. Thirty-four vineyard parcels were fermented separately on native yeast. Thereafter the wine was aged 15 months in 100% air-dried american oak barrels (20% new; 55% one, two and three years old; 25% four and five years old)

Alcohol;14.4% Suggested retail price; $47 – But you can find this wine for much less online.

photo (18)

My tasting notes follow:

Aromatic black and red fruits, cedarwood, spice and a hint of caramel aromas. Medium-bodied, elegant, and fresh with a supple texture and well integrated dusty tannins. Flavor-wise it’s a  haunting melange of black cherry, blackberry fig, and spice. Long finish. It’s relatively young.  It will easily age well for another 10 years!

Rating: A-  If you’re looking for a sophisticated, elegant Zinfandel based blend; look no further.  Lytton Springs is a perennial favorite!

Pair with: BBQ Chicken, Pulled pork, or if you’re more adventurous Indian food, smoked Ahi Tuna,  Duck Fat-Fried Fingerling Potatoes with blue-cheese fondue, or Roasted Vegetables with Sherry Dressing

Sample purchased for review

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Ratings Key:

(A+) – 98-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.