1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend and Grape Sources
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard in Oakville.
Harvest Dates
September 9 to September 12, 1997
Winemaking Data
Grapes were harvested between September 9 and September 12 at an average 25.4° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels before being bottled in February of 2000.
Winemaker Notes
The exceptional 1997 growing season provided one of the longest developmental periods on record, and the wines are shaping up to be among the best in an amazing decade of quality vintages. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This grand cru vineyard, which typically produces wines of power and longevity, has yielded an opulent, multi-layered Cabernet with great depth of color; chocolate, berry and mineral-like flavors; and ripe sturdy tannins. We recommend at least a decade of bottle age, but if you prefer to enjoy this wine over the near term, we suggest decanting to fully release its dense fruit aromas and flavors.
The quality of the Backus Vineyard has always been exceptional because of its location and its steeply-terraced hillside soil. The French call it goût de terroir, or "taste of the soil", and the term refers to the distinctive aroma and flavor components that are specific to a given site. In California there are only a handful of vineyards that have a genuine need for the term, and the Backus Vineyard is among that select group. In December of 1996, after holding a long-term lease on the Backus property since 1977, Joseph Phelps Vineyards purchased the entire 45-acre parcel. Current vineyard development has increased the planted acreage from 6.75 to 21.5, allowing both continuance of quality and, eventually, increase in production.