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. (RP)
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. (ST)
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