1999 Ridge Vineyards "Lytton Springs" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

SKU #993140 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Made from 70% Zinfandel, 17% Petit Verdot and the rest Carignan and Mataro, the 1999 Lytton Springs is a gorgeous wine that's a testament to the ageability of the Zinfandels made at this estate. Supple, sexy, and ready to go with lots of blackberry, cedary spice and truffle, it's medium to full-bodied, has ample mid-palate fruit and a seamless, silky texture. It's drinking at point and not going to get any better, but it should have no problems holding nicely going forward either. (JD)  (9/2015)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright medium ruby. Black raspberry and loam on the nose. Spicy, smooth and seamless, with lovely concentration and texture. Nicely balanced, thoroughly ripe, gently styled zin, finishing with excellent length and smooth tannins. (ST)  (6/2001)

Connoisseurs Guide

 The engaging aromas of ripe berries, sweet spices and oaky, vanillin notes of this well-made, expressly varietal Zinfandel are paralleled in its spry, bright flavors that hold burgeoning ripeness nicely in check despite a bit of heat rising in the aftertaste. Youthful tannins make a not unexpected appearance as well, and this wine could benefit from a few years of bottle age although its ample stuffing would make it a sturdy partner to summery barbecues.  (6/2001)

Wine & Spirits

 A classic vintage at Lytton Springs, this ‘99 frames all the complexities offered up by the ancient vines on these roiling, Dry Creek Valley hills. The field blend of zinfandel with petite sirah (17 percent), carignane (10) and mataro (3) builds the deep scent of currants, of blackberries in compote, of the warmth of the soil and the sweetness of the sun. Alcohol lifts it, but it’s no match for the succulence of the fruit, its refined beauty, its tight grip. This is one of the most evocative wines you’ll find from California, a liquid portrait of a vineyard. Why it costs only $30 is anybody’s guess. Buy a case before those $100 a bottle cabernet drinkers get a clue.  (10/2001)

K&L Notes

Decater Magazine: "A 'traditional vineyard blend' of very old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan, this has a very deep colour with a fine, natural plummy, even pruney, fruit and a long dry finish, quite different in style to the rich blackberry Zinfandels that are difficult to match with food. Paul Draper likens the 1999 vintage to the great 1974." (1/2002) Quarterly Review of Wines: "This is 70 percent Zinfandel, 17 percent Petite Sirah, 10 percent Carignane and three percent Mataro (Mourvedre). Deep, purple-tinged, ruby color; intense wild-black-berry and anise nose; big, plump, fairly expansive, ripe-berry and nutty-oak flavors; nice, deep, rich roasted underlay; excellent balance; long, elegant finish." (6/2001)

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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).