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 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.
The 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a shimmering, deep purple and ruby color. The nose is alluring and complex with aromas of black cherry, strawberry, lavender, dark currant, red apple, rubbed sage and notes of brown sugar and oak spice. The mouth-feel is soft, full-bodied, and rich with well integrated, fine grain tannins give way to lush, juicy flavors of blackberry, sweet pomegranate, goji berry, ripe plum accompanied by chocolate, and anise. The finish is long and elegant with spiced rhubarb, sweet cigar tobacco and pencil shavings. Recommended drinking time is five to ten years from vintage. Maximum suggested aging is fifteen years from vintage.
Detailed Wine Information
Vineyard Manager: Eric Titus
Winemaker: Phillip Titus
Appellation: Napa Valley
Blend: 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec
Harvest Dates: 9/30/08 - 10/8/08
Barrel Aging: 22 months - 80% French Oak, 20% American Oak (40% new barrels)
Bottled: July 2010
Cases Produced: 2800
Total Acidity: .57 grams/100ml
Release Date: January 17, 2010