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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Older Ridge Grenache and Syrah - June 22, 2022

We tasted these 4 at Pig+Fig ystrday afternoon:

  1. Ridge Grenache LyttonEstate DryCreekVlly (80% Grenache/10% PS/10% Zin; 49 brls; bttld April 08; Drk: 3/08-3/12-3/13: EB) 2006: Med.dark color w/ some bricking; some cedary/pencilly/oldRed some dusty/OV some blackberry/strawberry/Grenache bit oldRidge complex nose; slightly soft some cedary/pencilly/oldRed fairly dusty/OV some blackberry/Grenache bit complex flavor w/ light smooth tannins; very long somewhat cedary/pencilly/oldRed some blackberry/Grenache/strawberry bit complex some vanilla/Ridge oak somewhat complex finish w/ light smooth tannins; showing a bit of its age but still in remarkably good shape & not at all over the hill.
  2. Ridge Grenache LyttonEstate/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (14.2%; 78% Grenache/11% Zin/6% PetiteSirah/5% Syrah; 37 brls; bttld 3/14; tartaric acid; Drk: 1/14-1/20-1/21: EB) 2012: Dark color w/ some bricking; some Grenache/blackberry somewhat musty/corked/TCA nose; tart/tangy little fruit rather musty/TCA/corked flavor w/ light tangy tannins; pretty much robbed of everything by the TCA.
  3. Ridge Syrah LyttonEstate/LyttonWest/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty/Calif (88% Syrah/12% Viog; 14.5%; 48 brls; bttld Nov 2009; Drk: 8/09-8/19: EB) 2007: Very dark color w/ slight bricking; strong blackberry/Syrah/spicy/bit boysenberry/ripe some vanilla/Ridge oak very light cedary/pencilly/oldRed fairly youthful fairly complex lovely nose; lightly tart some cedary/pencilly/oldRed fairly strong blackberry/spicy Syrah some vanilla/Ridge oak bit complex still healthy flavor w/ light gentle bit drying tannins; very long light cedary/pencilly/oldRed strong vanilla/Ridge oak strong spicy/blackberry/Syrah slight earthy/dusty some complex fairly healthy finish w/ light gently tannins; shows a bit of aged character but still in pretty healthy shape. 
  4. Ridge Syrah LyttonEstate/DryCreekVlly/SonomaCnty (93% Syrah/7% Viognier; 15.1%; co-frmtd; 32 brls; bttld 4/2017; tartaric acid; Drk: 3/17-3/27: EB) 2015: Very dark color w/ little bricking; strong blackberry/Syrah/very spicy slight peppery strongly Ridge/oak bit complex nose; lightly tart very strong blackberry/Syrah/fairly spicy/bit peppery light vanilla/Ridge oak slight earthy/black pepper bit complex flavor w/ light bitey tannins; very long rather strong blackberry/spicy Syrah/bit peppery strong vanilla/Am.oak bit complex finish w/ light tannins; still pretty youthful & can benefit from more age; shows no signs of it age; a quite lovely example of Ridge Syrah but quite different from most Calif Syrahs. 

More druckspittle from TheBloodyPulpit:

1. All four of these wines spoke strongly of Ridge winemaking and less of classic Calif varietal character. Pretty much true of all the Ridge Rhones. I've learned to live with it and these are good mature Ridge reds.

The Grenache comes from very old vines on a hillside block way up on the backside of LyttonEast, the old vnyd in LyttonEstate. These are some of the oldest Grenache vines planted in all Calif. It should make a spectacular wine, but it is dominated by Ridge winemaking and is not showing the greatness I would expect. Still, a very good example of Calif OV Grenache.
The Syrah comes from much younger vines planted on the old NortonRanch, now referred to as LyttonWest, across the hill on LyttonSprings & just to the West of the air strip. Again, these two show more of the Ridge winemaking style and less classic Calif Syrah character.


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Updated 6.30.22