2013ridgeprimitivo2013 Ridge Vineyards, Prmitivo, Lytton Estate, Dry Creek Valley.
The Ridge 2013 Lytton Estate Primitive is a dense and full bodied effort that while is impressive for it’s concentration and fullness it lacks for the more subtle complexity at this stage, I really should have left this one in the cellar. The second day being open things started to change and it’s real personality began to shine through with more spice and savory tones balancing out the deep fruity character and sweet oak influence, that all said, this Zinfandel made from the Italian Primitive clone is a cool wine and the addition of 11% Petite Sirah really adds an almost black/purple hue to the dark color in this expressive wine. Ridge has 5 Acres of Primitivo clone Zinfandel planted at Lytton that came from the Puglia region of Italy, they are collecting various clonal versions of Zinfandel as part of a special project to study the grape, they even have a block planted to the Tribidrag clone, Zinfandel’s true historical parent from Croatia, I can’t wait for the vines to gain enough age to allow for a single Tribidrag bottling! The Ridge 2013 Primitivo is still tight and powerful at first sip, with loads of black fruit, sweet cedar, vanilla and dill laced oak shadings and firm tannins, but with time things start to gain width and poise, though that intense Petite Sirah has a big say in the style of this wine with grip, a solid spine and mocha notes staying strong throughout, those that enjoy a bigger Zin will love this right away, those that like the classic Ridge Zins will want to hold off opening this for another 5 to 7 years in my best guess to get all that is indeed trapped in this bottle. I really got more excited on day two when a dusty plum, briar spices, tangy raspberry and loads of black licorice emerged on the palate and the oak and sweetness toned down. This is not my favorite from Ridge, but it still is very impressive and it just maybe bring rewards down the road, it is also a wonderful way to celebrate the new year and hope for the future, it was much more charming with food and would be especially good with robust cuisine and or BBQ! These 2013’s have been edgy and a bit more tannic than the gorgeous 2014’s, but I believe they will blossom with bottle age, potentially ending up in a much better place. Only 42 barrels were made of this and it was hand crafted with native yeasts from a vintage where they did a harsh thinning of the crop, gentle maceration was needed, as there was plenty of color and tannin to be had with the Petite Sirah! I bought a few bottles at the Lytton tasting room, you’ll need to ask (beg) to get it, as it was a wine club offering and not on Ridge’s normal release list, and as always the Ridge staff and experience is one of best in wine country, there is always something to learn and great things to taste, plus the view at Lytton Springs always makes me happy.
($36 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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