2011 Joseph Phelps "Backus Vineyard" Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard has closed down quite a bit since it was bottled in January of this year. Lavender, white flowers, blueberry jam and spices are some of the many notes that reluctantly open up over time. Persistent and silky, the 2011 is easy to appreciate today for its overall balance, but it will be some years before all the elements fully come together. (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Many consumers may end up preferring the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard over the 2010 because the vintage produced such forward, precocious, soft wines. Where well-made, they possess plenty of endearing fruit and charm, but they do not have the tannic clout of great vintages such as 2010. A blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec, it came in at 14.2% alcohol, but production is a small 800 cases. The bouquet includes attractive notes of scorched earth, chocolate, espresso roast, red and black currants and hints of underbrush and earth. Full-bodied (unusual for a 2011) with soft tannins and loads of fruit, it should drink well for 10-15 years. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright medium ruby. Complex rocky perfume melds plum, raspberry, tobacco, dark chocolate, nutty oak, mocha and menthol. Sweet, ripe and deep, with a plushness and generosity of texture rare for this vintage. Intense dark berry and mineral flavors are complicated by menthol and milk chocolate. Finishes with a broad dusting of ripe tannins and impressive juicy length. Much of this vineyard was picked before the early-October rains. Incidentally, Joseph Phelps did a lot of replanting of the 1975 vines here following the 2012 harvest.