Titus Vineyards blows me away!
There are names in every industry that burn an image in your mind as soon as you hear them. When it comes to Napa Valley wine, a couple of the obvious ones are Mondavi and Heitz. Then there are the names that sound familiar to a lot of people, but are only truly well known to the converted. Titus Vineyards is in that category. They have turned out exceptional Napa Valley wine and they've received some nice scores, and yet somehow Titus doesn't have household name status. While they don't make enough wine to be on the tip of everyone's tongue (like the two mentioned above), the offerings I've had from them prove they should be on the wish list of anyone who buys premium Napa Valley wine. They're a small family-owned and run winery focusing on a handful of varietal releases and several blends. While Cabernet Sauvignon is their flagship wine, they are known among the faithful for having a house style that focuses on showcasing quality fruit in a balanced and full-flavored manner. With that, let's look at three of their current releases.
First up is the Titus Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Titus Vineyards has 40 acres planted in vineyards north of St. Helena in Napa Valley, and 2.4 of those acres were planted in Sauvignon Blanc in 2004.The fruit for this wine comes from those vines. This offering is 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, and it was aged in stainless steel for 6 months. Sauvignon Blanc currently stands as the lone white varietal in the Titus portfolio. About 860 cases of this wine were produced, and the suggested retail price is $20.
An incredibly perfumed nose on this wine includes gooseberry, citrus and passion fruit aromas, as well as a nicely defined floral component. The palate here is intense and lovely; the citrus theme continues with grapefruit and lemon playing key roles. Tropical fruit in the form of papaya kicks in as well, and leads to a solid core of spice notes that continue to the finish -- which is lengthy in nature. It's clean, crisp and alluring. White pepper and grapefruit notes are the longest lingering flavors, and they provide a nice bite to the very end.
Next up is the Titus Vineyards 2007 Merlot, produced from mostly Merlot (98 percent), and a small dollop of Cabernet Sauvignon (2 percent). Barrel aging was accomplished over 20 months in French oak; a third of the barrels were new. About 406 cases of this wine were produced, and it has a suggested retail price of $32.
Black cherry aromas lead the nose and are accompanied by hints of blackberry. Cherry characteristics continue throughout the palate. These flavors carry the day in earnest, and they're accompanied by a parade of black fruit flavors that include blackberry and black raspberry, along with generous spice notes such as black pepper. Earth, espresso, black tea and a host of mineral notes emerge in the finish. This is a well-structured Merlot of consequence, a full-bodied wine that features firm tannins and solid acidity. This is a serious Merlot that you can drink now (decant it if you do) or lay down in your cellar for the next 7 to 10 years.
The third selection is the Titus Vineyards 2007 Petite Sirah. While they initially purchased Petite Sirah from others, they now grow their own on their estate vineyard. This selection is 100 percent Petite Sirah. Barrel aging took place over 19 months in all American oak, and a third of the barrels were new. Just over 1,000 cases of this wine were produced, and it has a suggested retail price of $36.
Blueberry, blackberry and plum pudding spice notes mark the deeply fragrant nose, while an avalanche of red and black cherry emerges in the palate of this wine. There's an underlying layer of kirsch liqueur that kicks in along with blackberry, blueberry and copious spice notes. Chocolate, earth, chicory, and black pepper to spare are all part of the lengthy, layered and very impressive finish on this wine. This 2007 Petite Sirah has firm tannins and good overall structure. You could drink this today or lay it down for a dozen years. If you do put it on the shelf, you'll find that the earthiness will emerge in earnest as the fruit subsides a bit. Whenever you decide to drink it, what you're going to get is an absurd amount of drinking pleasure for a very reasonable price.
Each time I have the opportunity to taste the Titus Vineyards wines I walk away in awe Numerous things impress me about their wines, but a couple qualities stand out: they have a depth of flavors and, quite frankly, a soul that you don't find in many wines on the shelf. Whether you drink these wines yourself, or buy them as gifts for people you really like, someone is going to be very happy when they pop the cork on the fine selections Titus Vineyards is unleashing vintage after vintage. Every single one of their wines is also a solid to outstanding value. If you double the price of any of their wines you'll get an idea of the price many others in Napa are charging for this kind of high-end quality. I cannot recommend the wines of Titus Vineyards heartily enough. Their entire portfolio is well worth any extra effort necessary to get their juice on your lips and down your gullet.