Region: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California
Varietal: 94% Petit Sirah, 6% Zinfandel
Tasting notes: The 2017 Lytton Estate Petite Syrah is another superb wine from Ridge's Lytton ranch. Inky dark fruit and expressive savory notes infuse this bombastic, heady Petite with tremendous nuance and surprising freshness. The 2017 is still a bit young at this stage, but it clearly has the structure to age. My impression is that it will be even better once some more of the baby fat melts away. Even today, though, the 2017 is superb.
Producer: The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892. This unique cellar, built into the mountainside on three levels, is Ridge’s production facility. At 2600′, it is surrounded by the “upper vineyard”, now referred to as the Perrone Ranch. Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. A quarter century’s experience with this vineyard had convinced Ridge that it was an exceptional piece of ground. Forty consecutive vintages of Geyserville attest to yet another stunning combination of location and varietals. Though born in the early sixties to the post-Prohibition world of modern California winemaking, Ridge relies on nature and tradition rather than technology. Their pre-industrial approach is straightforward: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.
Vineyard and Winemaking: The Petite Sirah coming from Lytton Estate within the Dry Creek Valley was planted back in 1901 with the youngest vines planted in 1998. The fruit is hand-harvested, sustainably grown; destemmed and partially crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally-occurring bacteria. The wine is then aged in American oak, of which 20% is new, for 16 months.
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