VintageThe 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.
Titus Vineyards Napa Valley Zinfandel is produced from grapes grown on our family’s valley floor vineyard on Silverado Trail just north of St. Helena. The 30+ year-old vines are planted on St. George rootstock and grown without irrigation or “dry-farmed.” This old-world winegrowing practice produces low yields of concentrated fruit.
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, and were pressed shortly after dryness was achieved. The free-run wine was transferred to 15% new and 85% two year old American oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation. Petite Sirah was fermented and barrel aged separately, and blended into the Zinfandel prior to bottling.
Ripe aromas of spicy, briary dark fruit are wrapped in exotic spices and milk chocolate on the nose and translate through to the palate with the addition of black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry, and pepper and cherries. The mouthfeel is full bodied and lush and offers hints of sweetness on the palate. This Zin’s long spicy finish is enhanced by vanilla, licorice, soft oak spice, and toast notes imparted by the American Oak used to age this wine. Recommended drinking time is three to five years from vintage with a maximum suggested aging time of eight to ten years from vintage. We also recommend decanting this wine for about an hour prior to drinking.
Detailed Wine Information
Vineyard Manager: Eric Titus
Wine Maker: Phillip Titus
Appellation: Napa Valley
Blend: 90% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah
Harvest Date: September 8, 2008
Barrel Aging: 16 months - 100% American Oak (20% new barrels)
Bottled: March 2010
Cases Produced: 1,060
Total Acidity: .58 g/100ml
Release Date: May 2010