2005 Joseph Phelps "Backus" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
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.
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)
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.
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.