Dry Creek Valley, CA
80% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah, 2% Carignane, 2% Mataro and 1% Grenache
(I didn't grill outdoors but broiled a T-bone steak until lightly pink in the center.)
Purple-red color. From Paul Draper's notes:
"...flooding during the winter of 1996-97 but no rain after February allowing the largest and earliest set in 26 years of history of the vineyard. To ensure integrity and full ripeness, [the manager] dropped 1/3 of the crop in the young vines and 10% on the old vines, still achieving record yields. Taking advantage of unusually rapid color and tannin extraction, the skins were allowed to float during fermentation, rather than keeping them submerged...the 1997 is ripe and rustic--classic "old-style" Lytton Springs. Its lush fruit will be most appealing over the next five years." (i.e., 1999-2004)
As Mr. Draper tends to do, the forecast for aging potential was on the very conservative side. I feel the wine is wonderful now, 12 years after the vintage. It has a viscous texture and delivers a lush nose of ripe dark fruit and almost a floral note--violets or peonies?--and a whisper of autumn leaves. On the palate--ripe dark fruits-- blackberries and dark-skinned plums. Mouth-filling fine-grained texture; long-lasting finish. Carries its high alcohol level gracefully. I don't find it "rustic"--just utterly delicious and satisfying although it faded some on the third evening. I would score it in the 90's.