Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
A wine of great energy, length, and finesse, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon opens with floral notes, cedar and pencil shavings followed by ripe blackberry, cassis and red currant jam. Fresh and focused with pleasing acid and tannin structure building tension along the palate to the lingering finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very pretty blackberry, blackcurrant, walnut, forest-flower and dark-walnut aromas follow through to a full body with round, juicy tannins that are fine-grained and beautiful. Lovely length and generosity, but reserved at the finish to give it tension. Mostly from the Soscol vineyard. 97% cabernet sauvignon. Drink or hold.
The larger production 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley shows the vintage nicely and has a classic, balanced, medium to full-bodied style that offers textbook Cabernet Sauvignon notes of crème de cassis, smoke tobacco, damp earth, and chocolate. Medium to full-bodied and nicely concentrated, this is a young, relatively unevolved, yet beautifully balanced 2018 that will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 10-15 years.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, coming from vineyard locations in south Napa Valley, St. Helena, Oak Knoll District and Stags Leap District. It was aged for 18 months in 40% new (51% American, 49% French) and 60% one- to two-year-old French and American oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it does pirouettes out of the glass with notes of crushed blackberries, wild blueberries and ripe blackcurrants plus hints of lilacs, menthol, forest floor and pencil shavings with a touch of wild sage. Medium-bodied, the palate is as intense as it is elegant, featuring layers of fresh black and blue fruits and gentle herbal accents, framed by firm, grainy tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and minerally. Rating: 92+
Marked by very careful making as much as it is by the deep and incisive, blackcurrant fruit of authentic Cabernet Sauvignon with a discreet complement of neatly placed oak lending a boost in overall richness without ever challenging that fruit, this balanced, moderately full-bodied wine stays in frame from beginning to end with integrated tannins providing a nice, not overbearing, bit of ageworthy grip. Expect a fairly long life, a good ten years without fail, but its already evident polish suggests that it will be hard to resist in half that time.
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.
One of the most prestigious wines of the world capable of great power and grace, Napa Valley Cabernet is a leading force in the world of fine, famous, collectible red wine. Today the Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are so intrinsically linked that it is difficult to discuss one without the other. But it wasn’t until the 1970s that this marriage came to light; sudden international recognition rained upon Napa with the victory of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon in the 1976 Judgement of Paris.
Cabernet Sauvignon undoubtedly dominates Napa Valley today, covering half of the land under vine, commanding the highest prices per ton and earning the most critical acclaim. Cabernet Sauvignon’s structure, acidity, capacity to thrive in multiple environs and ability to express nuances of vintage make it perfect for Napa Valley where incredible soil and geographical diversity are found and the climate is perfect for grape growing. Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that express specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil—as a perfect example, Rutherford’s famous dust or Stags Leap District's tart cherry flavors.