The 2005 growing season got off to a slower, later start with a cool spring and late rains stretching into June. The long summer brought moderate heat that stretched into October. The sizable crop showed higher numbers of berries per cluster, and slightly lower sugar levels. Due to the mild weather and large crop, harvest was later – by about two weeks – and gradual, with picking stretching out over several weeks. The lengthy 2005 growing season gifted these elegant wines with lively aromatics and a beautiful balance of concentration and texture.
Our family vineyard is located on 40 acres of Napa Valley floor just north of St. Helena on the Silverado Trail. It has 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. The fruit from this small section of vineyard is largely devoted to blending into our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wines with any excess reserved for a small production, varietal Merlot wine.
The grapes were harvested in early October where they were promptly de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. After a 48-hour cold soak to extract color and flavor, the grapes were fermented for 10 days, with pump-overs occurring twice daily. The free-run was transferred to 100% French oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation, and barrel aged for 20 months.
This is a generous, full-bodied Merlot that will please even the most serious Cab drinker. The nose reveals candied fruit and sweet oak notes while in the mouth, you taste jammy, red fruit along with well integrated cedar and fresh herb flavors. Subtle dark chocolate and floral notes linger on the smooth finish. Recommended drinking time is three to four years from the vintage, with about one hour of breathing prior to drinking. Maximum suggested aging is six to eight years from the vintage.
Blend: 93% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec
Barrel Aging: 20 months, 100% French oak
”No wimpy merlot here, the Titus Merlot '05 shows powerful structure and definitive character. The wine is deep, spicy and smoky, dense and chewy yet staying somehow within the bounds of elegance and sure-footedness. Scents and flavors of red and black fruit are permeated by cedar, lead pencil and briers, while tannins are smooth and polished, a little weedy, extending the finish into austerity, yet the wine is as lovely as can be. 250 cases made. Best from 2009 through 2012 or '13.” - Fredric Koeppel, KoeppelOnWine (December 2007)