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Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
  • WE93
  • W&S90
750ML / 14.5% ABV
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The single vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard from the Oakville Corridor is a monster. A 1,100-case blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, it is bursting with aromas of charcoal, scorched earth, barbecue smoke, lead pencil shavings, graphite, cassis, blackberries, and oak. Dense purple to the rim and very closed, this is a big, muscular, full-bodied effort meant for serious long-term aging. Its potential is extraordinary, but I wouldn’t want to touch a bottle for 5-8 years. It should last for three decades or more.

Rating: 94+ Points

WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
Not the greatest Backus ever, and not in the league of the 2001 and 2005. More akin to the 2000. But shows the power and superb tannin development of this fine Oakville vineyard. Nearly 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s flamboyant in blackberry, black currant and cedar flavors, with a grip of mineral or graphite. Should age quite well at least for the next 12 years, gradually losing tannins and gaining sweetness.
W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
If you love late '50s Cadillac convertibles, here's your vinous equivalent: It has the scent of fine leather, a hint of tobacco (didn't everyone smoke in the car back then?), that top-down, sunny warmth and the gravity of a steel frame. For now, the tannins are extreme, cushioned by a creamy richness and the block of dark, licorice-like fruit. This is grown at Phelps's estate vineyard in Oakville, a west-facing plot that rises from the valley floor to a plateau in the foothills of the Vaca Range. Most of the 21 acres of cabernet were planted in 1998, with four dating to 1975; all of it has been farmed under biodynamics since 2004.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, 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.

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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, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay, creating an ideal environment to grow red varieties. Oakville's diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, and perfect for high-caliber viticulture.

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.

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Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy 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 is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile 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 profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

RZA131505_2006 Item# 131505