It Begins, A New Year Of ATP Releases!

With a new year comes a new calendar of wine releases, which is to say, this is a flat-out EXCITING time to be alive at Ridge Vineyards! I LOVE January!

And so, without further ado, how’s about we take a looksee at the new 2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Grenache? It’s the new January ATP release, so no time like the present to taste things out!

I’m going to take a slightly different tack with the tasting notes for this offering. As it’s a wine that lends itself very well to structural analysis, I’d like to use it as an opportunity to flesh out one of my favorite concepts; the idea of “architecture” as it relates to wine.

The idea is simple; the “structure” of a wine is the beams and girders of its formation, and if one is to analyze a wine via its architecture, one needs to identify and analyze its architectural components. This is not dissimilar from poetry scansion. To “scan” a poem is essentially to isolate, identify, and analyze its architectural components; its rhyme, its meter, its forms, its patterns, as a way forward towards understanding the total poem. Iambic? Trochaic? Anapestic? Dactylic? ABABAB? AABBCC? Spenserian or Shakespearean? Villanelle or Terza Rima?

To “scan” a wine is essentially to do the same, to identify and analyze its architectural components — fruit, acid, tannin, herb/spice, alcohol — in the service of eventually understanding the wine in all its aesthetic totality.

That said, and as with a poem, scansion can only ever tell you a portion of the story. Beams and girders may a building make, but ’tis magic, love and soul that makes a home. So, in addition to offering a “scan” of the 2006 Lytton Estate Grenache, I’m also going to offer a culinary metaphor, in the hopes of conjuring some of the visceral and intangible mojo that lives within the imagined soul-core of any and every good wine. (Not a culinary pairing, mind you, but a metaphor, though the dish below would certainly taste quite fine with this wine!). That is to say, I am going to posit a dish that, for me, metaphorically evokes the taste of this wine.  Will that get us to the soul-core? Of course not; at the end of the day,  you must taste. There is no substitute. You too must hold Aladdin’s lamp, and wish to stay. And don’t let anyone take your lamp away.

So …

Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, here we go! (Cue random Cat In The Hat reference!)

2006 Ridge Vineyards Lytton Estate Grenache

Fruit: Blackberry, Pluot, Pomegranate, Wild Mountain Blueberry …

Acid: Mild, Reserved, Erudite, Refined …

Tannin: Ultra-Powdery; Powdered Sugar & Talc …

Herb/Spice: Cigar tobacco, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Chicory, Coffee Grounds …

Alcohol: Benign & Integrated, No Heat …

Metaphorical Culinary Summation: Powdered sugar-dusted chocolate zucchini cake drizzled with blackberry gastrique, served with mission figs and chipotle powder-dusted chocolate-covered hazelnuts, followed by a strong and bitter espresso, and a mild, hand-rolled cigar.

Categories: Food & Wine Pairing, Grenache, Lytton, Lytton Springs, Tasting Notes, Varietals & Blends, Wine Clubs

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. That’s a really clever concept, Christopher. And well executed.

    Looking forward to the grenache. I’ve got a bottle of the ’01 here – and some ’04 &’05. I’m thinking a grenache vertical might be something fun for a cold January evening.

    • Thanks Robert! And hey, nice collection of Grenache you’ve got there, feel free to send us some tasting notes whenever you do that vertical!

  2. Wow!
    That food… I mean wine… sounds fantastic.
    Awesome post.
    – Jeff

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