What do you get when you combine over 50 years of expert winemaking experience, super old vines, and a glorious vintage? If you ask me, you get the 2012 Ridge Lytton Springs, a wine that I have always loved.
Paul Draper is the force behind Ridge Vineyards, and his refusal to compromise the quality of his wines and up production despite high demand is admirable. Many of his contemporaries didn’t follow that same path; they upped their production and their wines suffered for it. Ridge continues to make wines the way they did when they started over 50 years ago.
2012 Ridge Lytton Springs Proprietary Red Wine
95 points Antonio Galloni - Vinous Media
This vintage is sold out. To order the new vintage, stop by the store or click here to order in our online store.
In the words of the winery: “At Ridge we begin with respect for the natural process that transforms fresh grapes into wine, and for the 19th century model of guiding that process with minimal intervention. When you have great vineyards that produce high-quality grapes of distinct, individual character, this approach is not only environmentally and socially responsible, it’s also the best way to consistently make fine wine.” Draper and his team celebrated their 50 year anniversary in 2012 and what a vintage to celebrate with.
The Lytton Springs Vineyard is located in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, and is home to century-old Zinfandel vines interplanted with Petite Sirah, Carignane and Mataro. The 2012 vintage came in at 70% Zinfandel, 21% Petite Sirah, 7% Carignane, and 4% Mataro. Ridge produced their first wine from this vineyard in 1972 and they bought the vineyard in 1991.
It remains one of the California’s most distinctive and unique red blends, as it’s not the sloppy, jammy, overly alcoholic mess that Zinfandel blends like this often are. It’s balanced and pure, and it’s great young but ages well too. It is a true taste California wine history, as it is made exactly the same way it was made in the beginning. The 2012 is a superb example of this wine, as the sun and heat of the vintage yielded ripe grapes, and the finished wine is nearly perfect.
Antonio Galloni is one of my favorite wine reviewers, and he described the wine as “sexy and voluptuous” and “endowed with serious power.” He scored the wine 93 to 95 points and said to drink it between 2015 and 2032. After tasting the wine myself, I couldn’t agree more. It’s full bodied and powerful, but beautifully balanced. Ripe, dark berries mingle with pepper and other complex spices, earth, and underbrush notes.
Can you drink it now? Of course you can, but I’d recommend serving it alongside something sturdy — braised short ribs, beef or lamb stew, or an aged English Cheddar come to mind. Can you save it? By all means — the suggested drinking window is now through 2032……..please don’t wait that long!
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