Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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.
The Wine Advocate - "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."
International Wine Cellar - "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."
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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