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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Concentration was the defining characteristic of 2004 grapes in both color and flavor. The Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon reveals generous flavors of dark fruit, black currant, graphite, baking spices, liquid mineral and dark rich chocolate. The wine lingers on the palate, is full of supple tannins and ends with a brilliant finish.

Blend: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec
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Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard, from a steep hillside site in the low end of the Vaca mountains, across from Rudd Vineyards and Screaming Eagle, boasts an inky/purple color along with remarkably sweet tannins, especially for Backus, which tends to be a forbiddingly backward style of Cabernet. It possesses broad, expansive flavors, an opulent, full-bodied palate and unreal length. One of the superstars of the vintage, it can be enjoyed over the next 20 years.
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
It's impossible for a Cabernet to be richer, more opulent or more hedonistically stunning on opening than this beauty from veteran Phelps. Admittedly, there are significant tannins. But the wine delivers a broadside of the sweetest, ripest cassis fruit imaginable, along with richly toasted oak. It's the kind of Cab that will dazzle even an amateur. Absolutely gorgeous now, with immaculate elegance.
CG 95
Connoisseurs' Guide
There is a strong sense of muscle and fruity mass about this bottling right from the start, and, while it is not cast in the tough and sturdy style that is often the norm from Backus Vineyard, the wine is every bit as rich and well-filled as any of its noteworthy predecessors. It shows a pronounced trim of milk chocolate and vanilla running its length, but it is driven first and foremost by a generous and wonderfully constant measure of juicy, currant and black cherry fruit. Slightly grippy tannins make an eleventh-hour appearance and warn against hasty drinking, and, even if delicious now, it is a wine that will only get better...
WS 94
Wine Spectator
A deep, rich, profound Cabernet, with ripe, plush currant, black cherry and ripe plum fruit that's well-focused, supple and harmonious. This is intense and powerful, yet elegant and refined, with amazing structure, depth and length.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, 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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

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.

BUY121663_2004 Item# 121663