Layered and subtle with currant, light chocolate, almond and cedar character. Medium body, polished tannins and a flavorful finish, yet this always reserved and polished. Enjoy. Drink or hold.
Phelps is now producing three cuvées of Cabernet Sauvignon-their Napa Valley, their flagship proprietary red Bordeaux blend called Insignia (which they debuted in 1974), and their Oakville steep hillside vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon called Backus. The basic Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. It saw 18 months in a combination of both French and American casks. This is their biggest cuvée (27,000 cases) and it is a beauty. The 2014 is supple, with silky tannins, dark plum, blackcurrant and licorice-infused fruit with a touch of spice, a lushness on the attack and mid-palate, and a silky finish. This wine was meant for early drinking, but there is no doubt it has the concentration and overall balance to age nicely for 15-20 years. (RP)
Leading with expressive, very well-focused varietal aromas of ripe currants and plums that are invitingly laced with elements of cocoa, caramel and briar, all of which are replayed in its deep and sustained flavors, this well-structured youngster shows an unexpected sense of polish for a Cabernet of its age. It is a wine of precision and careful crafting more than one of raw power, but it wants for nothing in the way of concentration and presence, and, although it is constructed to age famously and thrive with a decade of development, it is so mannerly that it can be enjoyed in but a few years.
Once again, Phelps has done a terrific job with their straight Cabernet Sauvignon. Surprisingly delicate and gracious on the palate, the 2014 is quite feminine in this vintage. Dark red cherry, plum, mocha, licorice and dark spices build as the wine gains depth and fleshiness with time in the glass. The Cabernet remains one of the very finest values in Napa Valley. (AG)
Very bright, dark crimson. Polished and luscious on the nose – here is a vine variety at ease with itself in this place! Neat, fresh, ripe and already accessible but with ample possibilities for ageing. All pleasure here. 16.5+/20
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2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle "Cold Creek Vineyard" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $30)