Titus Vineyards2004 Zinfandel
This is one of the good bargain reds from the Napa Valley that come along all too infrequently. There are toasty, smoky and tar aromas no doubt from the American oak, while on the palate, Phillip Titus has made a wine of substance and excellence. He’s done it too, in a restrained manner with balance and minerality showing off the 10-acre vineyard on the Silverado Trail on the banks of the Napa River north of St. Helena. Everything’s in place here for a wine that will age for 15 years, but I recommend holding it for a year or two for maximum enjoyment.
The Zinfandel was originally planted in the 1970's. One part of the vineyard is in a former hayfield in deep river loam soil; the other is on a stony volcanic knoll rising out of the valley floor not far from river. The vines are dry-farmed, which again allows the terroir of the site to come through.
The Zin was de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. The Petite Sirah component of this wine was fermented and barrel-aged separately, and blended prior to bottling. The listed alcohol is 14.5 percent and there were only 1,673 cases produced.
One quibble: I wish the Titus family would have put the St. Helena appellation on the label, along with the Napa Valley designation, because that is more specific to where the grapes were grown.
Reviewed January 20, 2007 by Alan Goldfarb.
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.