This seriously structured, long-term beauty deserves to be aged in a larger format. Bold, ripe fruit leaps from the glass with dark berries leading the charge and pine needle notes just behind. Full-bodied, firm and chewy, more mouth-coating black and blue fruits arrive on the palate with loads of earth and spicy fireworks. This promises decades of pleasure.
Joseph Phelps has long been one of Napa Valley’s stalwarts. For more than 30 years, they have been a pacesetter for critically acclaimed wines. As Robert Parker wrote of their flagship red, 'The Insignia cuvée has been one of Napa’s great Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines since its inception in 1974' and Wine Spectator observed that Phelps is 'one of Napa Valley's benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon producers.' Their focus is on world-class standards, top growers and meticulous cellar triage with Insignia seeing only the best components each year. Phelps has a web of vineyards that would make any winemaker excited to go to work. The winery has been working exclusively with estate-owned fruit sources since 2004, and their specific sites are exceptional. They know every nuance of the land and can conjure magic and bottle thunder. And as evidenced by the press for the 2008 Insignia, Phelps’ continued march towards exclusively estate-owned vineyards is paying handsome rewards.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot, aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak and bottled in Jan 2019. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with bold blackberry pie, black currant pastilles and warm blueberries notes with touches of menthol, mocha, cardamom, iron ore and cinnamon stick plus a waft of black olives. The full-bodied palate delivers mouth-coating black and blue fruits with a vast array of earth and spicy sparks, framed by firm, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and mineral laced. 2000 cases were made.