Titus: I love you

I shall count the ways. 1.) Beautiful vineyards. 2.) Excellent wines. 3.) Fabulous people. 4.) Olives.  And on and on and on.  We went to Titus on our latest CA visit this past spring, but I bought this wine some time ago.  Cabernet Franc is one of my favorites, so I’m unable to resist the Titus version. They don’t make terribly much of it, so we have joined their club in order to ensure our continued to access to the wine. Lifeblood. Wiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee. (Says Homer Simpson.) In this particular instance I’m talking about the 2009 Titus Cabernet Franc. It has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.3% alcohol by volume, and I can’t recall what I paid for it.

Four takeways from this wine:

1.) Buy it. Now.

2.) Spend a day sitting at the picnic table at Titus Vineyards. You won’t regret a moment of that time.

3.) Drink more Cab Franc to encourage more (domestic) wineries to produce and distribute it.

4.) I think this would be awesome in the fall with beef stew.

On the nose I got chocolate, strawberries, raspberries, spices, herbs, sage, coffee, red currants, and cherries. This wine has that kind of nose I want to get lost in.  In the mouth I got black raspberry, black cherry, spices, herbs, chocolate, and earth.  I found it to be juicy with nice dark fruits and a long finish on the palate.  Drink up!





Fanning the Titus Frost

On our last trip to Napa we encountered a classic piece of agriculture technology at Titus vineyards – a 50+ year old frost fan, claimed to be the oldest in the county.  The giant frost fans that tower over the occasional vineyard in the region are mostly used in the spring to prevent frost from destroy budding vines.  More popular in the mid-20th century, the large fans are relatively rarer these days.

These older diesel fans have at times created controversy, largely on account of the amount of noise they can produce. Typical noise is 70 to 80 decibels, but some have been reported at “an ear-splitting 97 decibels,” described as sounding like being in an air raid.

The Titus fan brooded silently for a while we enjoyed our morning sitting at a picnic table tasting Titus’ wines, which were excellent, before roaring to life and settling into a slow and steady purr.

A Titus Kind of Day

Continuing on my recap of our recent trip out West, we spent one of our days in Napa. We had places to go and friends to see! (Ahem, Thea.) This day was planned months in advance. We’ve had both Cornerstone and Titus wines at home many, many times, and I’ve visited both in the past, but Matt had never accompanied me. (Though Thea has been my partner in crime on each visit I’ve made previously! Sensing a pattern here?

Christophe in repose

Titus was our first stop of the day. I’ve known Christophe, Titus’ chief wine club/social media/all around bottle washer, since before the very first Wine Blogger Conference. He’s such an awesome guy that he invited all of us over to his house for dinner latter that evening!

2010 Sauvignon Blanc: green notes, pepper, lemongrass, melon, peach, very light, crisp, nice acidity.


2009 Merlot: pepper, spice, black fruit, violets, perfume, roses, slight coffee notes, black cherry, lean, mineral, black raspberry, spice, great acidity.




2009 Cabernet Franc: (took home 3 bottles) chocolate, strawberry, herbs, berry compote, rose petals, smooth, black cherry, dark strawberry, bright fruit, delicious.

2008 Cabernet Sauvginon: chocolate, coffee bean, caramel, strawberry, tobacco leaf, currants, dark, black berries, black currants.

Through the drinking glass

2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: smoky, toasty, graphite, pepper, spice, herbs, needs some age, the bones are there though, black cherry, black currants.

2007 Lot 1: dark chocolate, black raspberry, earthy, minty, dark, black fruit, pomegranate, brooding, plenty of tannins.

If you have time on your next visit to Napa, I can’t recommend a stop at Titus enough. There is nothing quite like sitting at the sun soaked picnic table outside the building on the property, adjacent to acres and acres of Titus’ vineyards. Especially if you can spend that time with fabulous people like Thea, Christophe, and my partner in crime, Mr. WannabeWino. Tasting wines in the place from which they originate is a unique experience not to be undervalued.

Random Tastings

Some wines I tasted at dinner/the Grand Sonoma tasting at the Wine Blogger Conference this summer.  I thought it worth telling you about them since I took the time to take notes and many are worth your time to hunt down!

Sadly, I didn’t get to taste very many wines at the Sonoma Grand Tasting. The location (chosen I think to pre-empt our poolside party) was not large enough for anywhere near 100 people, let alone 275. I only tasted 5 wines throughout the whole event before I ran for cover from the jostling crowd which wasn’t conducive to talking, tasting, taking notes, or really, moving around!

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay: French Oak. Oak, butter, maloactic, apple, spice, white pepper, nice acidity, good fruit.

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, spice, pepper, tarragon, red fruit, nice structure, tart fruit.

2008 Lancaster Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, melon, lemon, spice, crisp, nice mouthfeel, tart citrus. Saw 10% oak.

2006 Roth Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla, strawberry, currants, blackberry, black cherry, nice structure, reserved.

2005 Roth Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Big red nose, herbs, leather, earth, black cherry, blackberry, pepper, peppery, smooth, well integrated.

2008 Titus Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, grass, hay, tart, dry, lemon , citrus. Nice.

2007 Titus Zinfandel: Bramble fruit, blackberry tart, vanilla crea, black fruit, violets, tart, nice ripe fruit.

2007 Sojourn Gaps Crown Pinot Noir: Bright red fruit nose, brown sugar, tart, raspberry, nice mouthfeel, spice, cinnamon.

2004 Michel Schlumberger Deux Terres: Leather, bramble, blackberry, dark fruit, fresh blackberry, spice, tannic.

2008 Cline Marsanne Roussane: Pear, orange blossom, spice, honey suckle, spice, orange zest, honey, crisp.

2007 Eric Ross Russian River Valley Marsanne Roussanne: Toasted spice, tinned pear, flowers, grapefruit, really nice acidity, pineapple, caramel finish. One of my top wines of the weekend.

2006 Tytanium Ty Caton: 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Petite Sirah, 20% Syrah, 5% Merlot. Vanilla cream, blue fruit, violets, pepper, chocolate syrup, tight, blueberries, coffee, espresso. Huge wine. I really wanted to see what this would be like the next day, but it was dark in the dinner room and I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle on my way out!

2007 Teresina Sonoma Valley Zinfandel: Raspberry, cranberry, pomegrante, spice, smooth, cherry, hard candy, pepper.

2006 Kopriva Cassidy Ranch Carneros Chardonnay: Spice apple, pear, spice, cinnamon, overripe peach, nice round mouthfeel, with clean acidity, baked apple pice, green apple.

2006 Titus Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla cream, black, tannic, blackberry pie, dusty milk chocolate, raspberry, tart fruit, anise.

2006 Titus Cabernet Franc: Pepper, herbs, leather, raspberry, tannic, dark, spice, anise, strawberry.

Obviously, I was hanging out just a bit with Christophe from Titus, given how many wines from them I tasted and reviewed. Always a good time, Christophe was sporting a ‘hawk at this year’s WBC, taking the place of Ward from last year!

WBW #60 Round Up: I Have Zinned

A hearty thanks to all who busted out some Zin to participate in the 5th birthday of WBW! As you probably gathered by now, I set the theme for this momentous occasion to I Have Zinned. I asked everyone to grab a bottle of Zin and pair it with their favorite grilled or BBQ food.  Zin and BBQ is one of my favorite pairings and it seems to be wbwlogosome of yours too! Though I did discover this time that Zins that have aged a little don’t seem to have the oopmh to stand up to sweeter BBQ sauce.  I think several others had the same revelation!

Overall, 30 folks joined us for WBW #60, with posts on 29 wine blogs!  Across the board, 46 Zins were reviewed for this WBW.  I’m happy so many joined in for the 5th birthday celebration of WBW!  I know participation lags in the summer as folks tend to be on holiday and such, so I appreciate the effort! Below are snapshots of all the posts, click through to read everyone’s full take on Zin and BBQ (or pizza in John’s case…though I kinda wish he’d grilled up some tofu or something 😉 )

Our first entry came in over a week early from David at Cooking Chat. He picked the 2007 Ridge Paso Robles Zin to pair with his ribeye. Sadly, he found it to be a bit underwhelming for the price point, though I expect it might have needed a little more time…07 is young for a Ridge Zin! Read his whole take here.

Ryan over at Oe-no-phile also joined with an early entry. He went off the beaten Zin path and picked a 2006 Old Vine Zin from Sineann, a winery with a Zin vineyard that straddles Oregon and Washington…so technically it’s a Washington State Zin. In short, he loved loved loved it.  Check out his fully review here.

Another early entry, Jason of This Blog and 20 Bucks Can Definitely Get You a Great Bottle of Wine (wow, that’s a mouthful!) picked a Zin I am very familiar with the 2006 Camellia Cellars Leconi Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel.  He paired it with an Heirloom tomato salad and grilled Moroccan chicken. You can read his review and check out his dinner here.

Randy, The Wine Whore, joins us for the WBW, and chose a Zin that I also have hanging around waiting for me to taste it!  He picked the 2006 J. Keverson Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfandel and presents us with a fun pictorial review of his experience tasting it.  Visit The Wine Whore for his review.

Bill from Wine for Newbies brought out the big guns for this WBW, tasting through 6 Zins! Though he admits he only tasted one of them with his BBQ! All 6 hail from Lodi and he picked the 2007 m2 “Old Vine” Soucie Vineyard, the 2007 Bargetto Zinfandel Old Vine, the 2007 Macchia Zinfandel “Oblivious”, the 2006 Mettler Vineyards Zinfandel “Epicenter”, the 2006 Harney Lane Zinfandel “Lizzie James” Vineyard, and the 2006 Michael David Gluttony “Old Vines”. Head on over to Wine for Newbies to read all about them.

Richard, who writes Silene’s Cellar, told us a lovely story of his first eye-opening Zin experience with a 1977 Monteviña Special Selection Zin.  He follows up that tale with a a blind tasting of 3 Zins (great minds think alike!).  Richard picked that 2005 Hendry Block 7 Napa Zin, the 2005 Dendor Patton Wisdom Mendocino Old Vine Zin, and the 2005 Sequum Riverwash Dry Creek Zin. Which won? You’ll have to visit Silene’s Cellar to find out!

Next up, Shea of Just Grapes. Shea chose to write up his visit to Mazzocco Winery after the Wine Blogger Conference where they make many Zins (I’ve visited before, but not in years). He tells us about the 6 Zins he tasted, with his favorite being the mighty pricey $120 2006 Antoine Phillipe Reserve. Read about them all here.

My roomie from WBC, Catie, aka the Walla Walla Wine Woman, brings us, what else? Zin from Walla Walla, Washington! I was actually surprised by the number of Washington Zins that popped up for this WBW, though I would expect nothing less from Catie!  She picked the 2005 Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel and paired it with Bulgogi, which sounds delish! Head on over for her recipe and wine review.

Our first Zin mishap comes from Rob over at Wine Post. (Who, by the way, recognizes how multi-talented I am at smiling and talking at the same time.) He picked up one of my favorites, a 2006 Titus Zinfandel. Sadly, he found it cooked. What a shame, it’s a great wine!

Then there’s me. I also did a blind tasting of 3 Zins! I chose the 2003 Sky Saddle, the 2004 Ridge Lytton Springs, and the 2005 Mauritson Rockpile Cemtery Vineyard.  I tasted mine with BBQ and found my BBQ sauce seemed to overwhelm the Zins, but of course, I didn’t let that get in my way! Read about my Zins here.

Kevin over at Under the Grape Tree joined us with a Zin from afar.  Now, I don’t see too many Zins coming out of Australia, so I was thrilled with this obscurish pick.  He chose the 2006 Groom Bush Vine Zin from Barossa. Over two days, he paired the wine with a grilled steak and BBQ ribs, and thankfully had better luck than I did with the BBQ sauce pairing! His review is here.

The Brix Chicks went all out for this WBW! Brix Chick Janesta reviewed the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel one of many Zins the Brix Chicks tasted that evening! They also smoked some meat and Janesta posts a photo of Sean Connery as 007…how does that connect with the wine? You’ll have to read to find out!

Jim from VineGeek submitted the post on Zin he did last month, seeing as how he had just written about the exact topic at hand, I decided to let him slide 😉 He chose the 2006 Cline Bridgehead Contra Costa County Zin, and sadly found it a bit lacking for the price point.  His full write up is here.

Gwendolyn, aka the Art Predator, (gee, what’s with all these bloggers with several aliases, lol), joins us with yet another Ridge Zinfandel.  Folks love Ridge Zins, one of the kings of Zin in my mind! She picked the 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs to go with her marinated tri tip and it blew her out of the water! Check out her review here.

We got another Brix Chick post out of the event too! Liza wrote up several of the other wines that they enjoyed with their brisket.  To round out the tasting, they enjoyed the 2006 Harney Lane Lizzie James Vineyard Old Vine Zin, the 2007 m2 Wines Soucie Vineyard 1916 Block Lodi Old Vine Zin, and the 2007 Newsome Harlow Big John’s Vineyard Calaveras Zinfandel. Quite the tasting. Head on over to the Brix Chicks for the details!.

Over at Drink What You Like, Frank brings us yet another Washington State Zinfandel! That’s three so far! I had no idea so much Zin was coming out of Washington, but that makes my mission clear: I must have some.  Frank searched through 5 wine shops in Seattle before finding the 2006 Maryhill Zinfandel.  He find it to be a decent QPR wine and hopes to taste more Washington Zin in the future. His review is here.

Joe, the Suburban Wino, has a great sildeshow/video up of the tantalizing ribs he made to go with his Zin. It’s worth a visit just for the drool worthy BBQ, as well as his review! He chose the 2006 Cartlidge and Browne Amador Zinfandel. It appears he preferred his ribs to the Zin, but thought it was fine for the price point. Visit Suburban Wino for the full review!

Our 4th Washington State Zinfandel comes from Kori over at Wine Peeps! She tasted 2 Zins blind (clearly another great mind!), the 2005 Forgeron Zin (same as Catie!) and the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Zin.  The meal she had with it made me want to hop on a plane and beg her mother to make BBQ for me too!  Find out which Zin prevailed by heading over to Wine Peeps.

Not a traditional WBW post, but Hello Vino participated by bringing us some info about Zin!  They write about the history of Zin, talk about how alcohol levels affect the fruit, and offer suggested grilled and BBQ foods to pair with it! Head on over to Hello Vino to read all about Zinfandel.

A fairly new wine blogger, Dee Wineo loses his WBW virginity on the Zin and BBQ theme!  He BBQ’d up some pork steak (which I just learned about last week when friends of mine made it for dinner while I was out in St. Louis!) and pulled out a value Zin to pair with it, the 2007 Foxglove Zinfandel.  Read about how his pairing turned out here.

My favorite Lush, Thea, aka Winebratsf, of course joined us for this WBW as she has a similar affection for Zinfandel like me! Raising it up yet another notch, Thea attended the ZAP summer outing and visited 3 wineries and tasted a plethora of Zins. She chose to focus on Rockwall Wine Company and D-Cubed Cellars in her post, highlighting 2 of their Zins along with the BBQ at the event. Visit Luscious Lushes for the full report.

Debbie, the Hudson Valley Wine Goddess, had a mishap with her post too: her dog ate her tasting notes! Now there’s a new twist on the old “the dog ate my homework” excuse!  Not to fear, being a trooper, Debbie sacrificed and opened another Zin in time for WBW! She chose the 2006 Truett Hurst Red Rooster Old Vine Dry Creek Zinfanel.  Read her review here.

My friend John over at Anything Wine joined in on the fun, though being a vegetarian he skipped the toss some meat on the grill part….I think he should do a follow up on how Zin pairs with grilled tofu or veggie burgers! John picked the 2006 Seghesio San Lorenzo Block 8 Zinfandel.  A sure winner, head on over for his take on the wine.

Now, I hope the link for this participant will work. Grace, the CellarMistress, posted her WBW on FaceBook. I’m not sure if you have to be her friend to read it, if so, let me know and I’ll reproduce the whole thing here. Grace chose the 2006 Seghesio Family Vineyards Della Costa Alexander Valley Zin.  You can (hopefully) read her review here!

Michelle from My Wine Education had to do a local twist on the theme, being loyal to her beloved Cincinnati (and also started Wine Blogging Thursday)! She picked the 2006 Zincinnati Zinfandel from Mendocino. The story on this wine is that a local distributor teamed up with a CA Zin producer to create this wine! Swing by My Wine Education for the full story!

John of Brim to the Dregs came out of WBW hiding to join in on the BBQ and Zin theme on Wine Blogging Thursday as well. He had a little trouble with the grilling part…first it rained and then his cooking skills failed him and his steaks were a bit more well done than intended. Good thing he had an excellent bottle of Zin to make things right! John chose the 2005 Fritz Dry Creek Zinfandel (one I’ve had many times!) and you can read his review here.

Our founding father Lenn also came in for Wine Blogging Thursday 😉 with a Zin he had trouble finding.  He picked the 2000 (oldest Zin for this WBW!) Neyer’s Pato Vineyards Zinfandel. Unfortunately, he thought it seemed tired and speculated that perhaps it hadn’t been stored properly for the time it lived in the store. Head on over to Lenndevours for his review.

Another Wine Blogging Thursday participant, Jill of Domaine 547 came out of blog, Zinfandel, and WBW hiding to join in the fun! Jill doesn’t drink a lot of Zin, so I appreciate her stepping out of her wine zone and trying a Zin! She picked the 2007 Homefire Homecoming Dry Creek Zin. It made her reconsider stocking some Zins in her soon to be open brick and mortar store! Read her review here.

For a Wine Blogging Sunday entry, we have Andrew of Spittoon, our first international participant for this WBW!  He had a bit of trouble finding a Zin, his stores only had two options.  With little in the way of choices, he ended up with the 2007 Bonterra Vineyards. Sadly, he didn’t find it very food friendly.  Read his full review here.

And finally, joining us for Wine Blogging Monday is Erika of StrumErika.  Erika plucked the 2007 Merryvale Jan Vineyard Napa Zinfandel from the share pile at work to pair with her sister’s famous hot wings.  While the wine didn’t live up to expectations, the hot wings sound mighty fine to me! Visit StrumErika for her full review and wing recipe!

Thanks again to everyone for breaking out the Zin in honor of WBW’s 5th Birthday and Zinning with me. And as always, a nod of the hat to Lenn for founding such a lasting event and for having me host this month! If I missed your post, please let me know and I will happily add it in!

Tasting at Titus

The day after the Wine Blogger Conference, Thea, Lynn, and I went out to terrorize Napa.  No, really, we’re a bit loud and talkative when you get us in a group. I’m sure Christophe regretted agreeing to do a tour and tasting with us at Titus!

We arrived, albeit in the case of Lynn and I, slightly late, just after noon.  You wonder how I couldn’t make it to a noon appointment on time? Well, let’s just say the one lane road I took from Healdsburg over to Napa didn’t help much!

I found a birds nest!

I found a bird's nest!

Before we tasted anything, we took a long stroll through the vineyards, tasting the second growth, checking out all the vines, and generally enjoying the lovely weather.  Christophe graciously gave us the background of Titus and the family behind it, and discussed the recently completed harvest and crush.

Christophe tells us about Titus

Christophe tells us about Titus

Baby vine!

Baby vine!

Next, it was onto the wine! Titus doesn’t have an official tasting room, so we were lucky enough to settle in among the giant rosemary bushes and olive trees to taste at a picnic table just on the side of the vineyard.  I love the slow pace of tastings outside a tasting room, and of having the folks who are talking to you about the wine sitting there and tasting right along with you.

2006 Napa Zinfandel: $27. 15% alcohol by volume. Cracked pepper, blackberry, blueberry, tobacco, mint, black cherry, all spice/baking spice, sage, tobacco, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, cherry, tart. Very restrained Zin, no pie or jam on this one.

2005 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon: $41. 14.7% alcohol by volume. Black fruit, leather, red berries, raspberries, vanilla, tannic, anise, blackberries, spicy, earth, smooths out beautifully as you swirl, black cherries, roses, violets, quite fruity.

2005 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: $60. 14.5% alcohol by volume. Big fruit, black cherry, violets, vanilla, coffee, cocoa, dusty chocolate, mocha, chocolate malt, leather, spicy, big blackberries, caramelized berries, dark raspberries, fruit is mostly on the front of the palate, lots of time left on this one.  I bought one to take home.

2006 Petite Sirah: $36. 14.8% alcohol by volume. Black as night. Smoky, toast, blueberry, brown sugar, a hint of meat, white pepper, tinge of raspberries, caramel, tannic.  I took two home.

2005 Red Wine Lot 1: $60. 14.5% alcohol by volume. 65% Petite Sirah, 30% Petite Verdot, 5% Zinfandel. Baked apple, cinnamon, baking spice, blackberry, blueberry pie filling, caramelized brown sugar, smooth, delicious fruit.  I bought one to take home.

Overall, I was very impressed with all the wines here.  I also loved visiting Titus.  This is another one I hope to take Matt to on our next trip out West!