The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard has really blossomed over the last year. A glorious, towering Cabernet Sauvignon offers super depth an intensity, with the voluptuous personality of the vintage on full display. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, mocha and espresso all flesh out in the glass. The Backus is not as open nor expressive as the Insignia is today, but it is tremendous in its beauty and overall pedigree. This is a terrific example of contemporary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the last vintage made from the vineyards that were planted in 1975. (AG)
Lots of blackberry, smoked meat and mahogany aromas. Full body, chewy tannins, mineral and mint. Long and intense finish. Better in 2017.
The Cabernet Sauvignon Backus is their single-vineyard wine made on the lower hillsides of the Vaca Mountains at the Oakville crossroads. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus, a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot, spent 24 months in 100% new French oak. There are 2,900 cases of this massive wine, which is certainly the most backstrapping, highly extracted, muscular Cabernet in the Phelps portfolio. It is inky bluish purple to the rim, showing notes of underbrush, dusty soil notes and plenty of blackberry and blueberry fruit. An elegant and relatively large production for this vineyard, the 2012 is a beauty and the tannins are surprisingly civilized for such a young Backus. It can be drunk in 3-4 years, but will keep 30 or more. (RP)
Deep ruby. Black raspberry, licorice and exotic tropical dark chocolate on the nose. More youthfully imploded and less generous than the 2011 version, but shows terrific energy and lift to the dark berry, floral and dark chocolate flavors. Nicely integrated acidity and serious ripe tannins give this very deep wine the balance and structural underpinning for a graceful evolution in bottle. But it will need at least four or five years of bottle aging to express itself. (ST)
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)