The memorable 2008 growing season began on the heels of a long, dry winter. At bud break the Napa Valley was ravaged by the coldest and longest frost season since 1972. While many hillside vineyards fell victim to frost damage, Titus Vineyards was not heavily impacted but we still needed to fire up our wind machines on a few nights. The unseasonable lows changed almost overnight into unseasonably hot weather that was accompanied by gusty winds during fruit set. The vines were already challenged by drought conditions and record cold, and this continual odd spring weather pattern caused the fruit to not set as evenly as it would under normal growing conditions. Add to this the summer fire season that resulted in several local wild fires making it a smoky, hazy July. Remarkably, harvest developed on a normal schedule running from August 22nd through October 16th. What ultimately manifested at the end of the topsy-turvy weather was an overall fruit yield reduction of nearly 50%. However, the quality of the fruit harvested was extremely high and will result in wines of great depth and concentration.
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, clone 337, 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, fermentation with pump-overs occurring twice daily. The free-run juice was transferred to oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation.
Our seventh vintage of Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon exudes the unique, rich varietal characters of our best estate Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The concentrated and glass filling aromas of ripe cherry, strawberry, currant, and sweet plum come across as being accompanied by sweet oak spices, espresso, raw sugar, violets, and pencil shavings. The aromas translate directly to the palate swim along with well integrated fine grain tannins. Additional flavors are cranberry, cigar box, and exotic fruits like goji and acai berry. The juicy flavors and mouth-feel lead way to a rewarding and everlasting finish. The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is both smooth and drinkable for such a mouth-filling, full-bodied Cab with great integrated, fine grain tannins. The recommended drinking time for this wine is four to six years from vintage, with an hour of decanting prior to drinking. The maximum suggested aging of this wine is ten to fifteen years from vintage.
Vineyard Manager: Eric Titus
Winemaker: Phillip Titus
Appellation: Napa Valley
Blend: 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec
Harvest: September 2008
Cases Produced: 424
Barrel Aging: 22 months 100% French oak 80% New
Bottled: August 2010
Total Acidity: .59 grams/100 ml.
Release: May 2011