2003 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1119442 91 points Wine Enthusiast

 Shows the deft Phelps touch in the softly complex texture whose tannins are just as velvety as they come, and the ripe, pure fruit. The blackberry, cassis and red cherry flavors are enriched with vanilla and toast from oak.  (7/2006)

Connoisseurs Guide

 From its very well-proportioned, handsomely defined aromas of ripe currants, balanced oak and subtle suggestions of chocolate to its tasty and solidly extracted flavors of cassis and sweet spice, this delicious wine is convincingly keyed on Cabernet Sauvignon varietal characteristics. It is moderately full in body and slightly supple in feel on the palate, and it is firmed by a solid measure of integral tannins. It warrants at least a few years of age and will reward as many as five to eight. *One Star*  (4/2006)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant, dark ruby-hued, medium-bodied effort offering aromas of earth, berry fruit, herbs, and spice. It reflects this vintage, which has produced very good Cabernets ... (RP)  (12/2006)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Ruby-red. Cassis, licorice, tobacco and a whiff of mint on the nose. Sweet and rather soft on the palate, with black fruit, tobacco and chocolate flavors nicely framed by fresh acidity. Finishes with fairly even, dusty tannins and suggestions of mint and menthol. Very Napa Valley.  (5/2006)

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Price: $54.99

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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.


- 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.
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.