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Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • WE93
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Winemaker Notes

Beautiful aromatics of dried flowers, cassis, blueberry, black cherry and licorice set the stage for the opulent palate of the 2008 Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Flawless texture, minerality and concentrated flavors create a balanced and intense long finish.

Critical Acclaim

RP 97
The Wine Advocate

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus is a beautifully delineated wine endowed with tons of personality and sheer class. The wine comes alive in the glass, with crushed rose petals, dark raspberry jam, licorice and spices. There is an exotic element to the fruit that is highly appealing. Today the tannins are quite firm, suggesting the wine needs at least a few more years in the cellar. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2038.

WS 94
Wine Spectator

Firm and intense, this is beautifully structured, with a tight, vivid core of mineral-laced raspberry, black cherry, anise and cedar flavors. Full-bodied and firming nicely on the finish, where the minerality provides a flinty edge. Drink now through 2022. 1,445 cases made.

WE 93
Wine Enthusiast

A big wine, saturated in color and tremendously extracted in fruity richness. Explodes in blackberries, cassis and sweet new oak, and the tannins are strong and refined. Not particularly drinkable now, because the parts are only clumsily melded, but seems like a serious cellar candidate. Should begin to blossom in 6–8 years and, given this wine's history, will be rocking by 2020.

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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.

The home of Port—perhaps the world’s most popular after-dinner drink, the Douro region of Portugal is one of the world’s oldest delimited wine regions, established in 1756. Less well-known but often of excellent quality are the region’s dry table wines, both red and white. The vineyards of the Douro, set on the slopes surrounding the Douro river (known as the Duero in Spain), are among the steepest in the world, necessitating the use of terraces in much of the region. This often requires grapes to be harvested by hand—a labor-intensive process. The climate here is Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cold winters. There are three sub-regions of the Douro—Baixo Corgo, the mildest and wettest, Cima Corgo, where many of the best producers are situated, and Douro Superior, the hottest and driest. The best sites, typically with schist-based soils, are reserved for Port production, while table wines are usually grown on granite.

While more than 100 indigenous varieties are approved for wine production in the Douro, there are five primary grapes that make up most Port and table wines. Touriga Nacional is the finest of these, prized for its deep color, tannic and concentrated structure, and floral aromatics. Along with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain's Tempranillo) helps to provide the backbone to these wine and adds bright acidity and red fruit flavors. Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca help round out the blend with their soft, supple textures. Tinta Cão, a fine but low-yielding variety, is rarely planted but still highly valued for its ability to produce excellent, complex wines. Rosé Port and table wines are produced from the same varieties, while whites are generally crisp, mineral-driven blends of Arinto, Viosinho, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, and an assortment of others.

Other Red Blends

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With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS145001_2008 Item# 113064

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