1997 Phelps, Joseph Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard
Cabernet Sauvignon - 750ML

  • WS 96
  • WA 93
  • IWC 92

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WS 96
Wine Spectator - Wine Spectator, October 2000
Deliciously rich ripe smooth and polished with dense tiers of currant mocha black cherry plum spice and cedar flavors. Turns silky-smooth and chocolaty on the finish. Best from 2003 through 2014. 800 cases made.
WA 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, December 2000
From a hillside overlooking the Oakville District Phelps produces small quantities of their single vineyard Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which is aged in 100% new French Taransaud oak. The sensational 1997 Cabernet... From a hillside overlooking the Oakville District Phelps produces small quantities of their single vineyard Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which is aged in 100% new French Taransaud oak. The sensational 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is a muscular highly-extracted full-bodied effort that requires 3-4 years of cellaring. Although not very approachable it displays great fruit intensity in its huge thick viscous flavors redolent with black currants new saddle leather spice box and toasty oak. Long powerful and intense it exhibits both sweet tannin and immense concentration. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2025.
IWC 92
Stephen Tanzer's IWC - Stephen Tanzer's IWC, May 2000
Deep ruby. Tightly wrapped aromas of blackberry cassis mint and Valrhona chocolate. Sweet layered and chewy in the mouth; shows distinctly more rustic texture and flavors than the Insignia. Impressively large structure... Deep ruby. Tightly wrapped aromas of blackberry cassis mint and Valrhona chocolate. Sweet layered and chewy in the mouth; shows distinctly more rustic texture and flavors than the Insignia. Impressively large structure. Finishes with big chewy tannins and a hint of menthol. But the tannins are thoroughly ripe. A very strong vintage for this wine.
Color & Type Red
Varietal Cabernet Sauvignon
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Appellation Napa
Vintage 1997

Winery

Phelps, Joseph

In the late 1960’s, Joseph Phelps, a successful construction company owner from Colorado, came to the Napa Valley to build a winery for Souverain (now Rutherford Hill). Like many others, he fell in love with the region and the industry and in 1974, he completed construction on his own eponymously named Joseph Phelps Winery, just in time to harvest the first vintages of Syrah and Insignia. Four decades later, Phelps Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s great and most highly-rated wines.

Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Since 2004, all Phelps wines are made from estate-grown fruit, including Phelps Insignia, the estate labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, the Oakville single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Backus’, Eisrebe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape, and Syrah from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard.

Joe Phelps also had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. He found the ideal spot for the perfect combination of climate, soil and location in Freestone, in the Sonoma Coast AVA. In 1999, he began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone and in 2005, construction began on a new winery. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name under the Freestone label.