1997 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #330447 92-94 points Vinous

 Ruby-red. Pungent, musky, perfumed nose combines stone and berry fruits, violet and black pepper. Even more exotically ripe in the mouth than the above; dense, generous and full. Sound acids and firm-edged, even tannins give the wine lovely snap. Big and muscular, but racy and firm. This is light years ahead of bottles I've tasted of the '96. (ST)  (5/1999)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 Paul Draper continues to label this bottling without a varietal designation—as he has since 1993—despite this vintage’s 80% Zinfandel. A dark, briary wine, this has plenty of everything you want in a Zin: berry fruit, mild acidity and a decent lashing of oak. Purely delicious, and Ridge’s best Lytton Springs of the past five years. (JC)  (9/1999)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Made from a blend of 80% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignan, 2% Mataro, and 1% Grenache, the 1997 Lytton Springs Proprietary Red Wine (14.9% alcohol) exhibits a saturated purple color in addition to sumptuous aromas of truffles, licorice, loamy soil, blackberry liqueur, and cherries. There are layers of concentration, sweet glycerin in the mid-palate, and a blockbuster, concentrated, opulently-textured finish. (RP)  (6/1999)

Jancis Robinson

 Another stunning wine (like the 1997 Geyserville). Strawberry, super-ripe (bit not overripe) nose. Just slightly dry tannins for the moment but this has fabulous and sumptuous richness. Very complete wine by any measure. 19/20 points  (3/2010)

K&L Notes

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. (In the 1870s, under "Captain" William Litton's ownership, the two were part of one property; spelling evolved into "Lytton" by 1903.) 91 points Wine Advocate's Neal Martin: "Tasted at the Lytton off-line at Rotisserie Jules. This is much better than the 1998 and an impressive showing for an 11-year old Zinfandel. The nose has a medicinal element to it, aromas of black cherries, orange liqueur and a hint of creme de cassis. Good definition and lift. The palate is full-bodied, fleshy on the entry, harmonious and succulent, lower pH towards the finish with a touch of spice…a nice prickle on the tongue. An extrovert Lytton Springs Zin, and just delicious to drink. Tasted November 2008." (Wine Journal, 11/2009)

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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).