We thought nothing could top Titus’ 2020 Andronicus, which we featured last year, but we were wrong. Our members loved the 2020 Andronicus, too, and they begged us for more. Happily, the 2021 Titus Andronicus Napa Valley Red (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 15% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec, 9% Merlot, 9% Petite Sirah) is even better. In fact, the 2021 Andronicus is screamingly great and downright seductive. The aroma of the 2021 Andronicus nearly leaps from the glass, offering an elixir of blackberry, dark cherry, cedar, and sweet tobacco leaf, but that’s just this Andronicus’ opening act. In the mouth, the 2021 Titus Andronicus satiates the palate with layers of rich berry fruit, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco leaf, and vanilla. Bold in flavor but with nary an edge, Titus’ 2021 Andronicus is backed by lush tannins, which add structure and form without compromising the wine’s delectable fruit. Drink the hedonistic 2021 Andronicus now at cool room temperature (58°-62° F) after just a few minutes of aeration, and be sure to lay several bottles down to enjoy over the next five years or so. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2027. Enjoy!
The 2021 Titus Andronicus Napa Valley Red truly embodies the best of the New World and Old World, which makes it an ideal wine to bring to table or to sit and sip with abandon. With that said, prime rib of beef and grilled rack of lamb, each served with truffle and thyme infused mashed potatoes and haricots verts, provide delicious accompaniments. Sautéed veal medallions topped with a port wine demi-glace provides another splendid partner, especially when served with a ricotta cheese, wild mushroom and pancetta manicotti. Smoked chicken breast topped with bacon and Muenster cheese also makes a fine companion to the sensuous, 2021 Andronicus. Spiral sliced ham served with mashed sweet potato and roasted root vegetables and roast turkey served with stuffing and all of the trimmings make tasty accompaniments, too. Fine cow and sheep’s milk cheeses also pair nicely with the 2021 Andronicus from Titus. Gouda and Havarti are perennial favorites, but almost any soft, rindless cheese is likely to please in the company of this proprietary red blend. Bon Appétit!
Located along Napa Valley’s famous Silverado Trail just north of St. Helena, Titus Vineyards lays claim to 40 acres of historic vineyards and one of America’s most iconic winemakers, Phillip Corallo-Titus. Phillip and his brother Eric Titus are 2nd generation guardians of this historic family owned and farmed vineyard, which now features one of Napa Valley’s newest and most innovative wineries, which is superbly run by Titus protégé Stephan Cruzan.
The Titus brothers’ tremendous work ethic and attention to detail have resulted in numerous 90 and 100 point scores for their artisan wines. Titus’ enviable portfolio includes award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and reserve offerings, including the estate’s highly sought-after Lot 1, a rare blend of Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Zinfandel. Titus’ latest venture and media darling is the 2021 Andronicus, a seductive Cabernet-centric proprietary blend.
In addition to fashioning world class wines at Titus, Phillip Corallo-Titus has been the winemaker at Chappellet and the man responsible for Chappellet’s meteoric rise and multiple 99 and 100 point scores for its wines. In recognition of Phillip’s consistent ability to make extraordinary wines, Wine Spectrum named Phillip Corallo-Titus 2018 Winemaker of the Year.
Meritage is California’s answer to Bordeaux. It is also a term that was born in the late 1980’s to describe New World blends that are made from traditional noble red Bordeaux varietals. Therefore, a meritage wine is essentially a Bordeaux blend of three or more traditional red Bordeaux grapes with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc the most notable participants. Malbec, Petit Verdot, Carmenère, and the exceedingly rare Saint Macaire and Gros Verdot are other possible players. However, there are no legal or proscribed percentages for each grape variety in a meritage wine, with the one exception: No one varietal can exceed 90% of the blend. Consequently, producers are permitted to vary how much of each varietal finds its way into the final offering, much as Bordeaux châteaux vary their cépages or blends depending upon the estate’s desired style of wine and the vagaries of each individual vintage. Most meritage wines in the United States must eschew the name of a single varietal on the label because by law varietal bottling requires that a minimum of 75% of a single variety be present in a blend for a wine to be labeled as a varietal. The minimum requirement for varietal labeling in Europe and in most other New World producing wine countries is 80% of a single grape variety. Although much rarer, a white wine may also quality as a meritage offering if it includes Bordeaux’s three noble white grape varieties with no single varietal exceeding 90% of the blend.
On the other hand, a proprietary blend is a winery’s unique and often special selection of two or more grape varieties in varying percentages. Some proprietary blends may also be meritage selections but only if they are made with noble Bordeaux grape varieties and meet all of the criteria to bear the meritage moniker. A proprietary blend is a one of kind, and wineries will often give their proprietary blend a trademarked name such as Insignia for Phelps’ red blend or Andronicus for Titus’ delicious Napa Valley Red. The 2021 Andronicus is not a meritage wine because one of its grape varieties, Petite Sirah, is not a Bordeaux varietal. No matter, the 2021 Andronicus is more seductive and all the better for the addition of Petite Sirah.
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