The first stop today during the 12 Days of Zin is Napa Valley. While a wide array of wines are made in Napa, many of them well Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed King of the Valley. Sometimes it's hard to focus on the other varietals that do so well there. Zinfandel is one of those varietals. The ones sourced from Napa fruit can often by a bit more refined in style and age-worthy than the average Zinfandel. Today I'll look at one from Titus Vineyards. They're a small family owned and run winery that focuses on a handful of varietal releases and several blends. While Cabernet Sauvignon is their flagship wine, they are known amongst those familiar with them for having a house style that focuses on showcasing quality fruit in a balanced manner. The 2006 Napa Valley Zinfandel from Titus Vineyards is 86% varietal with the balance made up of Petite Sirah. The fruit was sourced from their own dry farmed vineyard on the Silverado Trail featuring vines with a minimum age of 35 years. This Zinfandel was aged for 16 months in American oak. Just over 1,800 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $27.
Vanilla, cedar black raspberry and plum notes fill a very fragrant nose. From the very first sip chocolate covered red cherry notes are prominent throughout the palate. They're underscored by black cherry, nutmeg and an abundance of fruitcake spice. Earthy bramble, continued spice and lingering berry notes are featured in the substantial finish. This wine is well structured with solid but very approachable tannins. Good acidity is also present leading to a balanced, food friendly Zin. I found this wine to be an excellent match for a well marbled steak.
What I like best about this particular Zinfandel is two-fold. It's balance and harmonious nature is one of the hallmarks that stands out. The other is the dark, brooding nature of this selection, no doubt aided by the generous portion of Petite Sirah. These grapes are natural partners and when they work well together as they do in this case they really enhance each other. An excellent Zinfandel from Titus Vineyards, this selection should improve for a couple of years and drink well for another 5 or 6 after that.
Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues!
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