Saturday, May 7, 2011

Titus Vineyards

Titus Vineyards makes one of the finest California Cabernet Francs I’ve ever tasted. We went to Titus Vineyards for the annual Napa Neighbor Afternoon in the Vineyards on May 7th, 2011  This was primarily a vineyard tour, but they offered some tastings as well. Titus is a small vineyard that is usually open only by appointment.  We were offered a very nice Titus Sauvignon Blanc and Titus Cabernet Sauvignon. There was a Zinfandel, too, but it was all gone before we could taste it.  When asked about their famous Cabernet Franc, which I had read so much about, I learned that they did not have any open.  Of course, this was not an official tasting but a vineyard tour, and this is a small family owned and operated vineyard, so that was certainly understandable.

A few minutes later, I was offered a glass of Titus 2009 Cabernet Franc ($36).  Staff said I looked so disappointed that they opened a bottle for us.  I did not take tasting notes but this was one of the finest California Cabernet Francs I have encountered.  It was not overly fruit forward, but was interesting and complex with some pleasant herbal tones. If you don't have an opportunity to tour Titus Vineyard, I recommend you purchase a bottle if you like Cab Francs.

Titus Vineyards is a second generation family owned and operated vineyard that was founded in 1968 by Lee and Ruth Titus.  The original vineyard on their site were planted in the 1880s.  Much of their fruit is sourced out to other wineries.  It was not until 1990 that Titus released its first vintage under its own label.  Titus does  not have a tasting room, so you cannot simply drop in.  Tastings may be arranged, however, by appointment.
Titus is listed on page 176 of the book The New Connoisseurs' Guidebook to California Wine & Wineries (2010 edition) by Olken and Furstenthal, but the book states "No Tasting" rather than "Tasting by Appointment."  I asked them while there and you definitely may make a tasting appointment.  The book further states that Philip Titus "finds time to achieve great things at the family winery."  In Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2011, it states that they make, "very good Cab Sauv., an outstanding spicy Zin and Cab Fr." I was sorry to have missed the Zin, but the Cab Franc really was outstanding and I recommend you try it and visit this small vineyard. I would love to visit them again and do a more comprehensive tasting.

Titus Vineyards
2971 Silverado Trail
Saint Helena, CA 94574
(707) 963-3235
Visited May 7, 2011

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