2006 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1041339 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep ruby-red. Vivid red and dark berry aromas are complemented by dusty floral and mineral notes, with a suave rose quality gaining power with air. Deep cassis and bitter cherry flavors are energized by tangy minerality, picking up exotic floral pastille and candied licorice nuances on the back end. Smooth and sweet, with fine-grained tannins and a long, sappy finish. (JR)  (11/2008)

91 points Wine & Spirits

 Bright spice drives through the complex dark fruit of this old-vine blend, which includes Petite Sirah (16 percent) and Carignane (4). There's some funk to it that reads like BRett, but it hasn't taken over the wine. The zesty acdity makes it more versatile than most Zins, especially with roast turkey or duck with cherries.  (2/2009)

Connoisseurs Guide

 Although it teases with touches of spice and a nice sense of oak-sweetened berries, this gutsy young Zinfandel is relatively tightly structured at this point. It strikes us as one best set aside for several years, and its positive impressions of underlying fruit make keeping a fairly safe bet.  (1/2009)

Jancis Robinson

 Deep but not opaque ruby. Very bright red fruit on the nose. Rather like the result of carbonic maceration (I find out later that the Petite Syrah is whole-bunch fermented). Highly perfumed. Cheeky and sweet and fresh. So pure and bright. A light herbal note. Raspberry, even a touch of pencil lead and linctus. Lovely impression of ripeness and freshness together. (Paul Draper explains that you cannot get this with Zinfandel unless you pick at the point where you will get 14-15% alcohol.) Fabulous dry, tight but very fine tannins and freshness on the palate. And that fine grip just adds to the freshness. There is such refinement here in a very full-flavoured wine.  (12/2009)

Wine Spectator

 Distinctive if unapologetically rustic, with wild berry, licorice and smoky dill aromas and ripe, powerful blueberry, tar and leather flavors wrapped in muscular tannins. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane.  (12/2008)

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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.7