2003 Titus Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
As a Library Selection, this wine is available exclusively to members of Titus Vineyards Wine Club.
The unpredictable nature of the 2003 growing season began with heat spikes in March followed by the wettest April on record. Titus grapes demonstrated early development of flavor, character and maturity in August and September, but attaining full ripeness took a few additional weeks. A scattering of brief late rain showers encouraged vine vigor, resulting in an above-average sized crop. In September, unseasonably warm days alternated with cooler, overcast days, delaying harvest wrap-up until late October.
Our family vineyard, located on the valley floor just north of St. Helena on the Silverado Trail, possesses well-drained, sandy, alluvial soils and is characterized by its ability to produce complex wines with well-defined fruit flavors, gentle acids and naturally balanced tannins. Further north, our Ehlers Lane Vineyard consists of a stony, dry streambed and a knoll composed of thin gravelly soil over hard volcanic ash. Planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon these infertile soils produce low yields of grapes with concentrated flavors.
Following harvest, the grapes were de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. Following a 48-hour cold soak to extract color and flavor, the grapes underwent a warm, short fermentation, with pump-overs occurring twice daily. The free-run juice was transferred to oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation.
Our second vintage of Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon highlights the uniquely intense varietal characters of our Cabernet Sauvignon estate grapes. This is a full-bodied, well-balanced wine with black fruit notes driving the initial aromas and flavors. The addition of Merlot smoothes the mouth feel while Petit Verdot enhances the wine's structure and aging potential. On the nose, multi-layered notes of violet, smoke, mushroom, caramel and coffee beans accent plush aromas of blackberry preserves. On the palate, supple tannins support even flavors of plum, dark cherry, molasses, creme-brulee and mocha-tinged French oak barrel culminating in a long, elegant, chocolaty finish, Allow this wine an hour or two to breathe and then slowly savor its delicious complexity.