The 2008 Lot 1 is our eleventh vintage of this unusual wine that began as an imaginary combination during a blending trial. Several years ago, Eric & Phillip were tasting and talking their way through small lots of Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. Tasting slowed and conversation digressed while Eric and Phillip wondered what would happen if we combined these two powerhouse varietals?
Petite Sirah is dark and inky in color, with a hearty, voluptuous texture, and characters of blackberry and black pepper. Petit Verdot shows deep, purpley colour, with a full body, firm tannins and notes of exotic florals, spicy perfume and mineral. Rarely produced as a varietal wine, Petit Verdot is generally blended into Cabernet Sauvignon based wines. Both grapes have their place, but traditionally not in the same bottle. Would blending them together be madness…….or……genius? With an established track record of extraordinary accolades and a very loyal following, we think you’ll agree, that it’s decidedly a bit of both.
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. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines vary in age. They were most recently planted between the years 1996 to 2001 and are a combination of the 337 and See clones. 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 were fermented for 10 days, with punch-downs occurring twice daily. The free-run was transferred to French and American oak barrels, where it then aged for 22 months and was bottled without filtering. The Petite Sirah provides a base of spice and rich extract, the Petite Verdot adds structure and concentrated berry fruit, and the Zinfandel adds a note of lush briar.
Detailed Wine Information
Vineyard Manager: Eric Titus
Winemaker: Phillip Titus
Appellation: Napa Valley
Blend: 75% Petite Sirah, 19% Petit Verdot, 6% Zinfandel
Harvest Dates: 10/08/08
Barrel Aging: 20 months, 50% new barrels (100% French)
Cases Produced: 118
Release Date: November 2011