2011 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #1138855 93 points Vinous

 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.  (7/2013)

92 points 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.  (5/2014)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 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.  (1/2014)

90 points 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.  (2/2014)

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.  (10/2013)

K&L Notes

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."

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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 (%): 14.4