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2002 Joseph Phelps - Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard

UNITED STATES / CALIFORNIA / NAPA
  • 96 WA
  • 92 WS
  • 92 IWC
  • Variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon
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SKU: 56204-2002-1500-0
  • International Wine Cellar | Rating: 92

    ($175; like the 2002 Insignia, this was bottled in January of this year) Good medium ruby. Cassis, kirsch , menthol and roasted herbs on the nose. Rather muscular on the attack, then dense, lush and highly concentrated in the middle, with a deep core of dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors. In comparison to the Insignia, this is a more rustic style of wine, but the concentration of phenolic material is impressive, and this 2002 is finer than the 2001 release. Finishes with excellent length and youthfully tough tannins, but does not build on the back end with quite the same subtlety as the Insignia. I'd wait a good six or seven years on this wine. The Backus vineyard, located across the valley from Harlan Estate, is now farmed biodynamically. The 1999 release was the last vintage entirely from vines planted in 1975; Phelps began replanting the vineyard in '97 and '98, after buying it in '96.
    Author: Stephen Tanzer
    Issue: May/June 2005
  • Wine Spectator | Rating: 92

    Enticing aromas of currant, mocha and stone carry over to the palate, giving it a decidedly minerally edge. But those pebbly notes give it a unique flavor profile and it's supported by firm, chewy tannins. Best to decant now. 800 cases made.
    Author: James Laube
  • Wine Advocate | Rating: 96

    The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is a massive, youthful blockbuster with an opaque purple color as well as firm tannins (despite the general openness and ripeness of the 2002 Napa Cabernets). Almost overly rich, it has a long evolution ahead of it given its firm tannins and off-the-charts concentration and extract. One has to admire this cuvee for its extraordinary structure and multidimensional personality, but at present, even with airing, the primary aromas of new oak, loamy soil, graphite, incense and black fruits are all one can expect. In the mouth, the wine remains brutally tannic, but there is enough stuffing to easily balance out the wine's structure. It is a young, possibly great wine for the ages, and I would not hesitate to put my money where my mouth is. This 2002 should be absolutely amazing in 25-30 years.
    Author: Robert Parker
  • Self | Rating: 95

    Awesome structure. BIG CAB. Ton of life on this wine still. Should not open for 5 years at least again. Very complex dark fruit notes.
    Author: Lellman2
  • Self | Rating: 90

    drank too young without decant
    Author: Seaway J
  • Self | Rating: 97

    Drinking fantastic now. I fell in love with Backus at the winery and had to get some back vintages to try. The 2002 is the rich, full bodied, elegant style that will please just about any palate. Integrated tanins and smooth complex notes of blueberries, lavender, cassis, graphite, sweet cedar, and milk chocolate are to die for. One of my new favorites overall
    Author: cloudon
Since its founding in 1972, Joseph Phelps Vineyards has been on the cutting edge of many California wine developments. From the Bordeaux-blend Insignia, first made in 1974 and Wine Spectator's wine of the year for the 2002 vintage; to the resurrection of California Syrah, also first produced in 1974, the winery has earned critical acclaim for its many estate-grown wines.

Collector Data For This Wine

  • 2630 bottles owned
  • 123 collectors
  • Average collector rating: 94
    (Out of 123 collectors)