2009 Joseph Phelps "Backus" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1120873 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is very nicely balanced from start to finish. In this vintage, the Backus isn’t as overtly ripe as it can be. Hints of tobacco, crushed flowers, new leather and spices add complexity to the inky black fruit. Firm, powerful tannins suggest it will be years before the 2009 is ready to provide maximum pleasure. From time to time, the wine’s inner perfume and expressive black fruit show a glimpse of their potential, but the 2009 is a wine that begs for cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029. (94+, AG)  (12/2012)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated medium ruby. Deep aromas of cassis, mocha, chocolate and nutty oak, plus an almost porty whiff of kirsch. Lush, sweet and flamboyantly ripe, offering outstanding density to its dark berry, leather and nutty oak flavors. Large-scaled and powerful wine, and a bit more accessible in the early going than some recent vintages of this bottling. Finishes with huge tongue-dusting, chewy tannins and compelling chocolatey richness, but there's nothing hard about this very broad yet sharply delineated wine. With 24 hours in the recorked bottle, this cabernet showed considerably more energy on the nose and in the mouth, with very fresh flavors of crushed black fruits and minerals taking over. (A sample I tasted a month earlier at the winery was dominated by its forbidding tannins, and winemaker Damian Parker told me it has been very tightly wrapped from the start. But the high quality of the 2009 Backus was obvious from my latest sample, even if it should be held in the cellar for at least six to eight years.)  (5/2012)

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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 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.

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.