The exceptional 1997 growing season provided one of the longest developmental periods on record, and the wines are shaping up to be among the best in an amazing decade of quality vintages. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This grand cru vineyard, which typically produces wines of power and longevity, has yielded an opulent, multi-layered Cabernet with great depth of color; chocolate, berry and mineral-like flavors; and ripe sturdy tannins. We recommend at least a decade of bottle age, but if you prefer to enjoy this wine over the near term, we suggest decanting to fully release its dense fruit aromas and flavors.
"From a hillside overlooking the Oakville District, Phelps produces small quantities of their single vineyard Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which is aged in 100% new French Taransaud oak. The sensational 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is a muscular, highly-extracted, full-bodied effort that requires 3-4 years of cellaring. Although not very approachable, it displays great fruit intensity in its huge, thick, viscous flavors redolent with black currants, new saddle leather, spice box, and toasty oak. Long, powerful, and intense, it exhibits both sweet tannin and immense concentration."
The Wine Advocate
"Deep ruby. Tightly wrapped aromas of blackberry, cassis, mint and Valrhona chocolate. Sweet, layered and chewy in the mouth; shows distinctly more rustic texture and flavors than the Insignia. Impressively large structure. Finishes with big, chewy tannins and a hint of menthol. But the tannins are thoroughly ripe. A very strong vintage for this wine."
International Wine Cellar