1976 WIllowside Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel

1976 Willowside Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel

With aged wine, they say there aren’t great wines, but only great bottles. And this 1976 Willowside Vineyards Zinfandel from Lytton Springs is incredible. Pulled this birth year wine from the cellar to celebrate Jenny’s birthday. Used my Durand to carefully remove the cork and then strained to remove sediment. The wine was garnet in color with significant bricking. Upon opening, the aromas weren’t dried fruits, yet not fresh fruits either. It needed about 30 minutes of air to fully open up and then WOW!! Aromas of cherry, raspberry, cedar, menthol, and pepper excited my nose! Beautiful acidity added freshness and lift to the palate. This wine was not over the hill, but alive and kicking. And the party kept going for several minutes with a cherry and cracked pepper finish. The last several sips of the bottle ended up exhibiting aromas of peach skins on the nose which ended up making this one of the all time best wines I’ve had and an early WOTY! How can this wine still be so fresh? Definitely shows the importance of good provenance!

I took a risk on this wine from Wine Bid because of the grapes coming from Lytton Springs. I know this was before Ridge’s time, but I am having trouble finding any information or history about the vineyard at that time. I also am coming up blank looking for Willowside Vineyards. Any information would be great @TomHill @Rich_Brown


Yes, paging Tom Hill -

I’m from that era, and big Zins were a passion back then - not recalling a Willowside Vineyards -


I’m not Tom or Rich but I know a little about Zinfandel in that area. Willowside Vineyards was a winery owned by Berle Belize. He was an early partner in Cecile DeLoach’s business which was originally Belize-DeLoach Vineyards. I think Cecile bought him out and the brand simply became simply “DeLoach”. Anyway, Berle owned and lived on Gambogi Ranch, on Willowside Rd, and made wine in a nearby warehouse in Santa Rosa. I was once told that Berle made Fred Furth’s wines in exchange for some of the fruit in the late '70s, back when Furth’s label was known as Dona Maria.


There you go…stuff I didn’t recall. Now you know.


Who the hell does this @M_Officer guy think he is?? :wink:

So awesome bud! I remember seeing that bottle on Winebid and thought about it for a sec, but im very happy that you won it and that it showed so well. Cant beat a birth-year wine that over-performs!

And on a serious note, i really appreciate the background/ history Mike O!

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Mike it’s great hearing from you! Thanks for imparting some of your knowledge on the area.


Wish we could have drunk this one together! You would have really enjoyed it. Cheers bro!

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One of these days we’ll share a bottle buddy!


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