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Flat front label of wine

Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
  • WS92
0% ABV
  • V97
  • RP96
  • JS93
  • RP95
  • RP93
  • RP90
  • RP94
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • WE93
  • RP97
  • WS96
  • WE95
  • RP94
  • WE93
  • W&S90
  • WE97
  • RP94
  • WS92
  • RP97
  • CG95
  • WE95
  • WS94
  • RP96
  • RP96
  • CG95
  • WE95
  • RP93
  • WE96
  • RP90
  • RP93
  • RP93
  • WS91
  • RP94
  • RP92
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Winemaker Notes

From a 540-foot elevated mesa which declines steeply to the valley floor, the 45-acre Backus Vineyard sits in the heart of the Oakville District, distinctive even among such august neighbors as Screaming Eagle, Dalla Valle, Tench and Vine Cliff. Picturesque and dramatic, the top of the vineyard is strewn with ancient Andesite boulders and cobbles which line the stream bed and contrast dramatically with the iron rich, brick red soil and meticulously tended vines which slope downward to the Silverado Trail.

Phelps produced its first Backus Cabernet in 1977 from the original 6.75 acre block planted on St. George rootstock in 1975. Further vineyard expansion occurred after purchasing the entire 45-acre parcel from the Backus family in 1996, and today a total of 21 acres are planted to vines.

Today, it is our belief that Backus has earned its place among the Grand Cru vineyards of the world, and that the current release reflects this with its chocolate, berry and mineral-like flavors, soft tannins and silky, fat mouthfeel.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 92
Wine Spectator
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Oakville

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Home to some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in America, Napa Valley’s Oakville district stretches across the center of Napa's valley floor and foothills between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. This AVA is home to the legendary To Kalon Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard, as well as many powerhouse wineries including Screaming Eagle, Silver Oak, Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Far Niente and Groth.

The climate is generally warm and agreeable. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay. The diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages.

Cabernet here is often bottled varietally but is also popular in Bordeaux blends. Oakville wines are known for their silky, sensual textures, structured tannins, dark and brooding fruit and lovely aromatics. These age-worthy and prestigious wines are favored by collectors throughout the world.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

RGHBACKUS_2000 Item# 75017