Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TN: Titus 2005 Napa Cabernet Franc

I don't drink many Napa wines. They're usually too expensive and often aim for a very ripe, oaky style that I'm not often in the mood to drink. I was in the right mood, though, so I opened a bottle of the Titus 2005 Napa Cabernet Franc (75% Cab Franc with 15% Cab S and 10% Malbec to be precise). It delivered essentially what I had anticipated: a New World red wine experience. In other words, it's a solid cocktail wine.

The nose is definitely channeling plum jam and blueberry pie filling with a side helping of dried herbs and bell pepper. Riper than I like, but not crossing the line into pruney aromas that would be a deal-breaker. At any rate, the bouquet is strong and likable. The palate is textbook New World texture-driven wine in a medium-full bodied package. Sweet dark fruit upfront, vanilla oak tannins rounding out the mid-palate, and a little chocolate with melted tannins on the finish. It's a little flabby and soft (TA is listed at 5.7 g/L), and a little like a milkshake (40% new oak). Still, there is enough structure to hold it together.

The quality is there as it's clear this isn't mediocre fruit spoofed up with oak dust. This is good fruit aged in French oak. But the character is a bit lacking. I wouldn't necessarily peg this as Cab Franc because the ripeness levels and oak make it taste like any other other Bordeaux varietal made in this style. At best, its slightly lighter body and softer structure suggest it's not Cab S. Not a bad wine, though it could use a bit more freshness and lift. There was a time where I'd go off and rant that this is too New World. But let's face it, if you buy Napa, that's the style you will find most of the time. It's a fun cocktail wine, though the price is higher than I'd like for a wine that struggles to express varietal and place.

Pros: Powerful Dark Fruit Flavors and Aromas, Round Mid-palate, Soft Texture
Cons: Slightly Flabby, Lacking Unique Character
Decant: Maybe, didn't develop much with time
Price: $30 from Woodland Hills Wine Co.
QPR: Mediocre (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)

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