Overall, the 2006 growing season was long and steady with the exception of a cool spring with late rains and a heat spike in July. All the grapes were harvested in alignment with our predictions avoiding everything coming in at once. Interestingly, harvest at Titus Vineyards began ten days later than we would typically end allowing the grapes to benefit from the extended hang time resulting in optimum ripeness without the threat of bad weather. The lengthy 2006 growing season gifted these wines with lively aromatics, well balanced flavor profiles with beautiful concentration, and solid structure that will benefit the wines long term.
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 late September 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, complex Merlot that will please even the most serious Cab drinker. The nose reveals bright, red candied fruit and baking spice notes while in the mouth, you are rewarded with soft, round tannins and well integrated oak. Chocolate covered cherries and lush plum 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 eight to ten years from the vintage.
Blend: 82% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec
Barrel Aging: 20 months, 100% French oak - 2/3 new oak, 1/3 2 year old barrels