The 2018 Lytton Estate Petite Sirah is totally stunning. Bright, focused and powerful, the 2018 presents a breathtaking interplay of rich Petite fruit allied to a classic, old-school sense of structure. Dark blue/purplish fruit, leather, licorice, lavender, menthol and gravel are some of the many notes that infuse the 2018 with all those layers of flavor. The 2018 is a real stunner.-VM
Wilfred Wong 93
COMMENTARY: In the early days of my wine travels, I found myself wondering as I tried to understand what Petite Sirah was supposed to be. Some of California's efforts, including the Ridge York Creek offerings from the 1970s, were stunning. The 2018 Ridge Lytton Estate is leading me into another direction. As I tasted this wine over three days, I saw it grow beyond my expectations. TASTING NOTES: This wine is powerful, yet it bites on the palate and stays elegant throughout. Enjoy its aromas and flavors of bright berries and anise with braised beef stew, star anise, and whole black peppercorns. (Tasted: September 17, 2020, San Francisco, CA)-WW
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 93
Containing 3 Zinfandel, the 2018 Petite Sirah Lytton Estate has luscious aromas of cassis and blue fruits, turned earth, coffee and aniseed. The palate is full, concentrated and firm but offers great freshness and fruit detail in the mouth, and it finishes very long and layered. It's approachable now if you love a big red, but it will also age well in the cellar.-RP
Jeb Dunnuck 92
There are 4,600 cases of the 2018 Petite Sirah Lytton Estate. (There's 3 Zinfandel in the blend.) This dark-fruited, ripe, smoky wine has full-bodied richness, a rounded, opulent texture, good acidity, loads of currant and chocolate blue fruits, and a great finish. It picks up a chalky minerality with time in the glass and, despite being a big, rich wine, it has a terrific sense of freshness. It's going to evolve nicely for 10-15 years.-JD
Intriguing nose of leather, fig and rose petal. Full bodied palate with well coated tannins, mint, black olive and a long minerally finish.-Winemaker Notes
Ridge's history begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor and prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.
Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, by the mid-60s, it had produced several Zinfandels including the Geyserville. In 1972, Lytton Springs joined the line-up and the two came to represent an important part of Ridge production. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.-Winery Notes
The Ridge approach is straightforward: find the most intense and flavorful grapes, guide the natural process, draw all the fruit's richness into the wine. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity.
Ridge VineyardsView all from Ridge Vineyards
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."
In the 1940s, William Short, a theologian, bought the abandoned winery and vineyard just below the Perrone property; he replanted several parcels to cabernet sauvignon in the late 1940s. From these vines -- now the "middle vineyard"-- new owners Dave Bennion, Hew Crane, Charlie Rosen, and Howard Ziedler, all Stanford Research Institute engineers, made a quarter-barrel of "estate" cabernet. That Monte Bello Cabernet was among California's finest wines of the era. Its quality and distinctive character, and the wines produced from these same vines in 1960 and '61, convinced the partners to re-bond the winery in time for the 1962 vintage. Dave Bennion left his role at S.R.I. to oversee winemaking duties full time.
The first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard farther down the ridge. This was followed in 1966 by the first Geyserville zinfandel. The founding families reclaimed the Monte Bello terraces, increasing vineyard size from fifteen to forty-five acres. Working on weekends, they made wines of regional character and unprecedented intensity. By 1968, production had increased to just under three thousand cases per year, and in 1969, Paul Draper joined the partnership. A Stanford graduate in philosophy--recently returned from setting up a winery in Chile's coast range--he was a practical winemaker, not an enologist. His knowledge of fine wines and traditional methods complemented the straightforward "hands off" approach pioneered at Ridge. Under his guidance the old Perrone winery (acquired the previous year) was restored, the finest vineyard lands leased or purchased, the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines established. Cabernet and Zinfandel account for most of the production; Syrah, Grenache, Carignane, and Petite Sirah constitute a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962.
Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. A quarter century's experience with this vineyard had convinced us 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. Our 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.