Not only do we have a new wine to introduce, but we have a first ever! We couldn’t be more excited to present to you the 2013 Lytton Estate Grenache / Mataro!
This wine comes from Lytton Springs, our estate vineyard located in Dry Creek Valley and home to our Lytton Springs winery. Paul Draper first visited the vineyard in 1972 and after seeing the old vines, originally planted in 1901, decided to purchase fruit from then owner, Dick Sherwin. After a couple vintages, it was obvious that Ridge had discovered another great vineyard. In 1991, on the 20th anniversary of our first vintage, we were able to purchase the property which included the old winery and the ancient vines surrounding it, making it a true estate vineyard. We later acquired the western portion of the vineyard in 1995. It is from the original old vines and some newer plantings on the property that we produce our classic Dry Creek offering, duly named after the vineyard itself.
In addition to its flagship bottling, Lytton Springs also produces a slew of other wines. The property harbors numerous plantings of Syrah, Petit Sirah, Grenache, Zinfandel, Viognier, Primitivo, and other varieties. These smaller production wines, which are often only available direct from the winery or through our membership programs, are labeled “Lytton Estate.”
Unlike any other Lytton Estate release, this new wine is predominantly a blend of Grenache and Mataro. Ridge has had an extended history with both of these varietals. Unbeknownst to Ridge at the time, one of the large hillside parcels first sourced to make our Lytton Springs blend was planted to a high percentage of Grenache. After purchasing the eastern half of the estate in 1991, we accurately identified the varietal content of these old parcels and, in the following year, produced our first Grenache dominant wine. Grenache is now a highlight of our ATP program, featured in our excellent Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache and occasionally gracing the release list as a varietal bottling every few years.
If you don’t recognize “Mataro” from other Ridge bottlings (Lytton Springs, Geyserville, etc.), this is the same grape as Mourvedre and Monastrell, as it is otherwise known in France and Spain. Here Paul Draper talks a bit about the grape and its history…
Ridge has been involved with the production of Mataro since our first vintage of Geyserville in 1966, which has a small amount planted amongst its field blended vines. The varietal pops up in many of the field blend vineyards that we currently work with, adding a layer of earthy complexity to the wines. In our history, we have even produced several varietal Mataros from various vineyards including Pagani Ranch (Sonoma Valley), Bridgehead (Contra Costa), Pato (Contra Costa), Evangelho (Contra Costa) our very own Lytton Estate. Here is a humorous take on one of our early Mataro releases from winemaker Daryl Groom and the folks over at Jordan Winery…
For this small bottling of Grenache / Mataro, the fruit was sourced from a block at Lytton West planted in 2006. The varietals were picked and fermented separately and, after malolactics had finished, were blended together. Additions of Zinfandel and Carignane were also made to liven up the fruit and maintain the bright acidity of the wine. The earthy allure of the Mataro and elegant fruit of the Grenache combine to create a wine with great drink-ability and complexity. The wine displays a complex nose of rose petals, black licorice, sage and raspberry. On the palate, the wine is medium-full bodied with smooth tannins, showing loads of blackberry fruit and with notes of clove and mint on the finish. Drinking well now, this wine will continue to develop in the bottle for the next three to five years. Here is what winemaker John Olney has to say about the wine…
This wine was first made available to our ATP members as an optional add-on to their spring release shipment. A small quantity remains following that offering and thus the wine is now available at our wineries and on our website.
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