Bright ruby-red. Classic California cabernet aromas of cassis, dark chocolate and eucalyptus, with hints of sandalwood and blackberry. Intense flavors similar to the aromas; showcases this vineyard typical chocolate and mint character. Finishes fairly tannic but not dry, with expressive flavors of roasted dark berries, coffee bean and oak spice. Much cleaner and more impressive than a bottle I sampled a year ago.
Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: May/June 1999
Wine Spectator | Rating: 91
Minty, with sage notes leading to a supple, complex band of currant, coffee, cedar, olive and tar, this is rich and polished for such a young wine, finishing with mild tannins. 600 cases made.
Author: James Laube
Wine Advocate | Rating: 93
The 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is a wine of great intensity. A massive, saturated black/purple-colored example, it offers an intriguing bouquet and flavors of prunes, black currants, roasted herbs, chocolate, and coffee, huge amounts of glycerin and body, and a gigantic, oversized finish with considerable tannin. This is one wine where the extract level matches the tannin's ferocity, but readers looking for something to cuddle up with over the near-term should be advised that it needs 5-6 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2025. Readers should be paying attention to Phelps' Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a 100% Cabernet, aged completely in French oak for 18-22 months. It comes from a 6.75-acre vineyard situated adjacent to some of the great Napa Valley vineyards of Dalla Valle, Plumpjack, Groth, the Venge Family Reserve, and Screaming Eagle. This vineyard is being expanded to 22 acres, so the production (about 600 cases) will be increasing in 4-5 years.