2005 Joseph Phelps "Backus" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1077833 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 Price be damned, this is an authentically gorgeous, important Cabernet Sauvignon. It calls to mind the amazing 2001, with its huge, perfect tannins and acids and artistic appliqué of new oak. But the star of the show surely is the fruit. Mounds of ripe blackberries and cherries pile up, veering into currants and cassis and something wild and decadently animal, like charred meat. Fabulous now despite the firm tannins, and should evolve for many years.  (5/2009)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 From a steep hillside vineyard on the lower slopes of the Vaca Mountains in Oakville emerges the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard, which is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. This is a deeper, more primordial, richer and more masculine style of wine than the Insignia. The 2005 reveals surprisingly sweet tannin (tannin management can be an issue in certain vintages), gorgeously dark blackberry and cassis fruit, a hint of Graves-like scorched earth and volcanic undertones, and a full-bodied, powerful, concentrated, multi-layered mouthfeel. This is extremely youthful, has 14.6% natural alcohol, and seems set for another 30 years of evolution. (RP)  (6/2015)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Cool but sweet aromas of medicinal black fruits, licorice, menthol and graphite; today this comes across as sweeter than the Insignia. Then massive and pliant for the year, showing a distinctly warmer character than the Insignia. With aeration, this exuded lovely inner-palate perfume, thanks to bright acidity, which gives lift to the fruit. But this very young wine finishes with substantial tannic clout.  (6/2008)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Shows off a distinctive minty herbal character and is dry and firmly structured on the palate, with glimpses of red currant and black cherry peaking through. Yet this is tight, focused, concentrated and balanced, and once it's past this phase, it should provide plenty of excitement. Best from 2011 through 2017.  (10/2008)

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Price: $199.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.