2006 Joseph Phelps "Backus" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1077835 94 points 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. (RP)  (12/2009)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* 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.  (2/2010)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* Richness and ready extract come at the cost of real toughness here, and, while never a wine of worry, this very dense, deeply draughted, tannin-framed youngster struggles a bit to show the curranty, black soil and olive-like complexties that lie at its heart. Its best lies well in the future, but its pedigree is clear even now, and if sure to show better five years down the line, it looks to be one that will grow for ten or more.  (12/2009)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby. Superripe aromas of cassis, graphite and mint. Sweeter and more aromatic in the mouth than the Insignia, showing a finer-grained texture and more early finesse. A rocky character and enticing violet perfume lift the middle palate, but the substantial tannins currently cut off the wine's finishing fruit. This will need patience.  (6/2009)

90 points 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.  (6/2010)

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Varietal:

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 Médoc 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.
Specific Appellation:

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.
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