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 Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Old Vines

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 2010 Carlisle Zinfandel Old Vines.

Winery

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards is a small Sonoma County based winery  based in Santa Rosa. According their website they specialize in the..

…production of old-vine, vineyard designated Zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Petite Sirah).

Mike Officer is the Owner/Winemaker.  He caught the wine “bug” early – at age 19 – when he tasted a late-harvest Riesling (It seems like we all start with sweet wines doesn’t it?) After graduating from college, he worked in software development for five years, but realized that was not his passion.  He knew the answer would involve wine, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.

He decided to try winemaking,  starting with making 5 gallons of Zinfandel in his kitchen.  Some years later, he  and his wife Kendall found themselves making 300 cases of “garage” wine.  They decided to jump in with both feet and established Carlisle Winery & Vineyards in 1998.  They’ve focused on old-vine Zinfandel, and red Rhône blends, until the 2010 vintage, when they made their first white wines.

In addition to their own estate vineyard, they source grapes from Sonoma County, primarily the Russian River, and Dry Creek AVAs.  Officer always been a fan of old-vine vineyards.   In fact, of the 16 vineyard sources listed on their website, half ( Gold Mine RanchMartinelli Road VineyardMontafi RanchPagani Ranch VineyardPapera Ranch, Rossi Ranch Vineyard, Saitone Ranch, and Two Acres) are considered historic vineyards by the Historic Vineyard Society .

 The Wine

The fruit for this wine is sourced 50% from the Montafi Ranch vineyard, and 50% from the Carlisle Vineyard.  Under normal circumstances, Carlisle would have produced separate bottlings from each vineyard, but a late August heat spike damaged 80% of the crop.  Rather than making less of each bottling, Carlisle decided to blend the fruit from the two vineyards.

The Carlisle Vineyard was planted in 1927.  And the Montafi Ranch vineyard was planted in 1926. As was typical at the time, both vineyards are field blends consisting of predominantly Zinfandel, but also interspersed with other grape varieties like Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Syrah, and Grand Noir de la Calmette.

The wine was aged in 30% new french oak.  It was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

2010 Carlisle Russian River Old Vine Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque ruby color with lovely briary, perfumed kirsch, baked black and blue fruit, and baking spice aromas.  On the palate it’s approaches full-bodied, and is balanced and fresh with a supple mouth feel.  It shows an intense core of blackberry, blueberry, and cherry and black raspberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.  SRP – $45; 15.9% alcohol; 270 cases produced

Rating: A-: This is an outstanding Zinfandel

Pair with: A full-bodied wine such as this would pair well with robust dishes such as roast lamb, meat stews, hearty pastas, or barbequed dishes.  This Zinfandel is more food friendly than most because of its lively acidity!

Carlisle wines are available via a mailing list.  The mailing list is currently closed, but if you would like to be added to the waiting list, click here.  You may also >>Find this wine<<.

Sample purchased for review

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

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

Wine of the Week – Bedrock Wine Co Heritage Compagni Portis

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 2011 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Compagni Portis

 The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. is an “itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop”. Though recently Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker/owner of Bedrock Wine Co. announced some big changes including building a new winery, and hiring of close friend, Chris Cottrell to work with him.  Sounds like Bedrock will be moving from the “itsy-bitsy” level to a higher level production-wise.  The wines are already major quality-wise!

There are two things that make Bedrock Wine Co. special in my view – the first is Morgan (you can check out his full bio here), but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug” including working harvests in McLaren Vale, Australia and worked as a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux before returning to California to focus on revitalizing California’s heirloom vineyards. The second is his vineyard sources. I did a post last year entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together, wherein I focused on the sources of Bedrock’s grapes.

In terms of the wine making process itself at Bedrock, it’s surprisingly Ole Skool (or as Morgan might put it “Cro-magnum”).  Grapes are pitch-forked into a small Zambelli destemmer, the punch-downs are manual, after fermentation the wines are basket pressed in an Italian press that is manually operated.   It’s a very manual and time-consuming process, but I can vouch for the results.  Peterson is making some unique distinctly Californian wines that are spectacular!

The Wine

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Compagni-Portis vineyard, one of the many vineyards from which Bedrock Wine Co. sources grapes that are listed in the registry of the Historical Vineyard Society.  It is one of the few remaining mixed-white vineyards.

Here’s what the Bedrock Wine Co. says about the wine…

As I have written in the past I am just smitten with this vineyard.  The eclectic field blend of Gewurtzraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Roter Vetliner, and others was planted in 1954…The dry-farmed vines yielded a scant 1 ton to the acre in 2011.  The wine was whole-cluster pressed and native yeast fermented in a combination of stainless steel and older French barrels.  As one would expect from a cooler year this is a more delicate version of Compagni; it is beguilingly fragrant and expressive…

Not familiar with Roter Vetliner?  Neither was I.  It’s an ancient grape native to Austria of unknown parentage. Today, there is little acreage planted to this grape in Austria.  I imagine there is even less here in California. From what I glean from a bit of research it’s similar to a pungent version of Sauvignon Blanc that ages well.  It’s part of the Vetliner family, the most well-known is Grüner Veltliner.  But there are also  Brauner Veltliner and Frühroter Veltliner grape varieties

BWC Compagni Portis

My tasting note follows:

Pale yellow color with aromatic, lychee, tangerine, spice, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, and fresh with a great mouth feel followed by white peach, tangerine, and spice flavors. Med/long finish.  - 92pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.  This is a great example of Bedrock achieving it’s objective to channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines

Pair with: The evening I enjoyed this wine, I paired it with Tandoori Chicken, Dal (yellow lentil) Curry, and Boti (Lamb) Kabab.  I’d pair with other spicy Asian cuisine, Seafood Gumbo, or Roasted Roots and Fruits.  It’s also just fine on its own!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountySonoma Valley
  • Grape Varieties: Gewurtzraminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Roter Veltliner, and several others.
  • Cooperage: Aged in SS and neutral oak for 5 months
  • Retail: $25
  • Cases produced: 130
  • Drink: now – 2015

Related posts you might enjoy:

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 Blog.com. Copyright 2013 ENOFYLZ Wine Blog. All rights reserved.

 

Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

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 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

The Winery

Bedrock Wine Co. is an “itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop”. Though recently Morgan Twain-Peterson, the winemaker/owner of Bedrock Wine Co. announced some big changes including building a new winery, and hiring of close friend, Chris Cottrell to work with him.  Sounds like Bedrock will be moving from the “itsy-bitsy” level to a higher level production-wise.  The wines are already major quality-wise!

There are two things that make Bedrock Wine Co. special in my view – the first is Morgan (you can check out his full bio here), but suffice it to say he’s been making wine since he was “knee-high to a bug” including working harvests in McLaren Vale, Australia and worked as a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Bordeaux before returning to California to focus on revitalizing California’s heirloom vineyards. The second is his vineyard sources. I did a post last year entitled Bedrock Wine Co: Where Old Vine Love And Transcendent Wine Making Come Together, wherein I focused on the sources of Bedrock’s grapes.

In terms of the wine making process itself at Bedrock, it’s surprisingly Ole Skool (or as Morgan might put it “Cro-magnum”).  Grapes are pitch-forked into a small Zambelli destemmer, the punch-downs are manual, after fermentation the wines are basket pressed in an Italian press that is manually operated.   It’s a very manual and time-consuming process, but I can vouch for the results.  Peterson is making some unique distinctly Californian wines that are spectacular!

The Wine

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Pagani Ranch, one of the many vineyards from which Bedrock Wine Co. sources grapes that are listed in the registry of the Historical Vineyard Society.  Pagani Ranch Vineyard is run today by the founder’s grand-daughter and great-grandson, Norma Amantite and her son Dino.

Here’s what the Bedrock Wine Co. says about the wine…

The first vintage of what should be many from the storied and ancient Pagani Ranch.  A classic field-blend planted in the 1880′s.  Pagani Ranch’s cool soil and unique mesoclimate yield a rich, dense, but vibrant wine.  After a taxing growing season the Amantite family did a highly selective pick which yielded less than .5 tons per acre.  Fermented in open-top vats using native yeasts and then barreled down to 100% French oak, of which 33% was new, the wine aged for 11 months in barrel.  The resulting wine is black, powerful, and perfumed, and a testament to experienced farming overcoming a tough year. 9 barrels made.

The last time I saw Morgan he comments that most folks are drinking his wines too young.  Guilty as charged!  The good news is I have another bottle.  I do my best to hold on to that for a few years to see how it ages…but no promises;-)

Wine of the Week; 2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Heirloom Wine Pagani Ranch

My tasting notes follow:

Opaque violet color with beautifully aromatic plum, blackberry, cassis, spice and hints of violet aromas. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, fresh, intense, and elegant with blackberry, and spice flavors. Long finish.

Rating: Highly Recommended.

Pair with: This wine has a nice vein of acidity, making it food-friendly.  Try with roasted or grilled pork, or beef, Mexican food. For a twist try with seared ahi tuna or pâte, or a chicken liver mousse!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountySonoma Valley
  • Grape Varieties: Field blend of Zinfandel (approximately 65%), Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Petite Sirah, and Lenoir.
  • Cooperage: 100% French oak French oak from Ermitage and Rousseau, 33% new for 11 months
  • Retail: $37
  • Cases produced: 225
  • Drink: now – 2020

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