Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The 2005 Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon yielded a classic, more European-style wine early on as it aged in barrel. The wine evolved slowly, showing beautiful weight and aromatics after one year which continued to increase after the second year. The result is a deeply ruby colored wine with hints of graphite, freshly ground espresso bean, crushed stones, ripe dark berries and plum, all of which contributes to an enticing bouquet. The texture is layered with ripe, well-integrated tannins along with a velvety, seamless finish. The 2005 wines are sure to be long lived.
Blend: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec
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Wine Enthusiast - "Price be damned, this is an authentically gorgeous, important Cabernet Sauvignon. It calls to mind the amazing 2001, with its huge, perfect tannins and acids and artistic appliqué of new oak. But the star of the show surely is the fruit. Mounds of ripe blackberries and cherries pile up, veering into currants and cassis and something wild and decadently animal, like charred meat. Fabulous now despite the firm tannins, and should evolve for many years. "
The Wine Advocate - "The dense 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (93% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec) offers sweet creme de cassis aromas interwoven with scorched earth, espresso roast, and licorice. Full-bodied as well as elegant with sweet tannin, gorgeous purity, and admirable depth, this effort has developed beautifully since I tasted it last year. It appears to have 25 or more years of aging potential."
Wine Spectator - "Shows off a distinctive minty herbal character and is dry and firmly structured on the palate, with glimpses of red currant and black cherry peaking through. Yet this is tight, focused, concentrated and balanced, and once it's past this phase, it should provide plenty of excitement."
International Wine Cellar - "Cool but sweet aromas of medicinal black fruits, licorice, menthol and graphite; today this comes across as sweeter than the Insignia. Then massive and pliant for the year, showing a distinctly warmer character than the Insignia. With aeration, this exuded lovely inner-palate perfume, thanks to bright acidity, which gives lift to the fruit. But this very young wine finishes with substantial tannic clout.
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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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.