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1998 Ridge "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #330598 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Complex, deeply pitched aromas of sappy blackberry, dark chocolate, game, leather and earth. Very full and ripe in the mouth, but with a captivating sappy quality. Flavors of dark berries, violet and spice are lifted by a peppery nuance. In a distinctly sweeter style, and more harmonious than usual at this stage of its evolution. Big, deep and impressively structured; finishes with substantial but ripe tannins. A superb showing.  (6/2000)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 A vineyard blend that includes 16% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 4% Mataro and 1% Alicante Bouschet. Meaty, funky and ripe, with intense fruit, lots of earthy, barnyardy accents, and a long, tannic finish. This is old style Zin, no holds barred, with full-throttle flavors for aficionados. (PG)  (3/2001)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another Ridge classic, the deep ruby/purple-colored 1998 Lytton Springs (14.3% alcohol; 77% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah, 4% Mataro, 2% Carignan, and 1% Alicante) boasts a sweet nose of briary fruit intermixed with red and black currants, minerals, pepper, and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, with dried Provencal herb characteristics that emerge with airing, this fleshy, beautifully pure, and stunningly proportioned Zinfandel can be drunk now as well as over the next 5-6 years. (RP)  (6/2000)

Wine Spectator

 A touch earthy, with a mushroomy edge to dry berry and pepper notes. (JL)  (5/2000)

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Price: $39.99
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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).