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Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • RP97
  • WE95
  • CG95
  • WS94
0% ABV
  • RP96
  • JS93
  • RP95
  • RP93
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4.5 1 Ratings
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4.5 1 Ratings
0% ABV

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, , California
Joseph Phelps
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.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

BUY121663_2004 Item# 121663

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