Ridge | Lytton Springs Winery2004 Zinfandel , Ponzo Vineyard
(Russian River Valley)
Paul Draper, winemaker for famed Ridge Vineyards in the south-of-San Francisco community of Cupertino, long has made superb Zinfandels from northern Sonoma County. His Geyserville offerings long have been prized by Zin collectors.
However, trucking grapes from Sonoma all the way to the mountaintop winery in Cupertino proved logistically problematic. So in 1991 Ridge acquired Lytton Springs Winery in Dry Creek Valley, which gave Draper access to even more old-vine Sonoma vineyards.
That first harvest Draper used some Zinfandels from the vineyard of cousins Phil and Bob Ponzo, a Russian River Valley property just outside the city limits of Healdsburg. Since then those grapes have been the backbone of the winery’s “regular” (Sonoma County) Zinfandels. Being a tad cooler than Ridge’s traditional Geyserville and Dry Creek Zinfandel acreage, the Russian River Valley vineyard ripens later. The result is a slightly leaner, more age-worthy red wine.
This wine’s generous raspberry and vanilla character shows a trace of the American oak used in its aging. Tiny amounts of Petite Sirah and Carignane, which are inter-planted with Zinfandel in the oldest blocks, add pepper and a faint earthiness. The red fruit and spice of this wine are appealing now, but aeration shows that it will age well for at least another five years.
Reviewed January 20, 2007 by Dan Berger.
Winery: Ridge | Lytton Springs Winery
Dan Berger has been reviewing wine for 30 years, always seeking character related to varietal type and regional identity. He has never used numbers to rank wine and doesn’t plan to start any time soon. He believes that weight and concentration aren’t the only worthy aspects of wine and is especially smitten by cool-climate and food-friendly wines that offer distinctiveness.