2011 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
93+ points. The 2011 Lytton Springs has a wonderful burst immediacy to it, backed up by the structure of the year. This isn't the most nuanced Lytton Springs in recent memory. Despite its considerable appeal today, my sense is the 2011 needs a few more years in bottle for all of the elements to fully come together. The blend is 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignane.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(includes 16% petite sirah and 2% carignane): Opaque ruby. Dark berry and vanilla scents are lifted by smoky spice and mineral qualities and a touch of white pepper. Sappy and appealingly sweet, offering energetic boysenberry and blueberry flavors that become more tangy with air. Silky and assertively spicy on a penetrating finish that leaves subtle floral and mocha notes on the palate.
As exciting as the discovery of new things may be, this eminently satisfying, deeply drawn offering from Ridge reminds just how important reliable old friends also are. It speaks directly to precise varietal fruit without raising its voice, and it manages at once to be rich, ripe and very alive. It is not extravagant stuff, but it is balanced, complete and wholly compelling, and, while it is sure to tempt early drinking, it comes with an iron-clad guarantee of long life and years of improvement.
Wine & Spirits
This estate-grown Zinfandel includes some Petite Sirah and Carignane in the mix, pointing up the floral scent of the blueberry and dark cherry flavors. The wine has some vanillin aspects from aging in American oak (25 percent new), which will develop into complexity as it ages. A Zin to cellar for ten years or longer.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 Proprietary Red Lytton Springs (82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignan; 14.4% alcohol) was harvested near the end of September. A juicy, rich effort, it displays abundant notes of raspberry and black cherry fruit, medium body, excellent purity, and good weight as well as richness. The strongest effort of these Zinfandel-based wines, it should drink well for 5-6 years.
Ridge made their first Lytton Springs in 1972, and today it is still the flagship Zinfandel blend in a fine portfolio. The Lytton Springs property is situated in the hills on the edge of the Dry Creek and Alexander Valley appellations, and vines date back as far as 1901. The 2011 vintage was cool and long, and harvest began a full three weeks later than usual. This lent itself nicely to the more elegant, bright, and structured style of Lytton Springs which never resembles the more jammy wines often found in Dry Creek. Winemaker John Olney describes the profile as such: "Bramble, raspberry, cassis, toasted oak, and floral aromas; layered black cherry and currant, full bodied with well coated tannins and notes of licorice and black olive on the finish."