2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard
Winemaker Notes Our Backus Vineyard wines have been magical, with none surpassing the 2001 vintage for its trademark flavors of chocolate, berry and mineral, its silky texture and, perhaps most distinctive, its powerful, sweet tannins.
Winemaking Data Grapes were harvested at an average of 24.5° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 23 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in February 2004.
The 2001 vintage produced extremely balanced, concentrated and flavorful fruit with generous yield, despite a variable growing season usually associated with less successful years.
A warm spring resulted in early budbreak, followed by a few days of freezing temperatures which caused some detrimental frost in early April (a natural thinning!). Prior to flowering, record high temperatures in early May caused rapid vine growth, and maturation was further accelerated by heat spikes in early June. Finally, mild temperatures in July and August provided ideal growing and ripening conditions and allowed vines to recover from their growth spurt in the spring.
Harvest began at the beginning of September with Sauvignon Blanc. Some of the early-maturing red varieties were harvested on September 10th with fully developed flavors and tannins. The mild temperature which followed allowed further hang time and flavor development for the later maturing Cabernet Sauvignon, most of which was picked during the last week of September through the first week of October. The advent of hot, dry weather which maintained its grip through most of October afforded even the most stubborn vineyards a chance to ripen and produce some of their best fruit since 1997.
93 Points - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
This is a superlative vintage in the North Coast. A cool (but not excessively so) growing season was followed by fabulous weather in September and October, allowing producers to harvest at their leisure. Crop size was reasonable good and my tastings revealed the finest young California Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot I have ever tasted. The wines possesses extraordinary ripeness as well as tannin, high glycerin and alcohol levels, and astonishing balance. (Aug. 2002)
97 Points - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
From a steep hillside vineyard in Oakville, the excrutiatingly youthful, intense 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard possesses an opaque purple color (that resembles a barrel sample rather than a 10-year old wine) as well as an extraordinary perfume of raspberry jam, crème de cassis, acacia flowers and crushed rocks. Full-bodied with magnificent concentration, purity and texture, this modern day legend should still be drinking beautifully in 2035. (June 2011)
97 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Tasted alongside a bevy of Oakville Cabs, this beauty was the star of the show. It's huge, masculine wine, authoritative and ageable. Pours dark and drinks tannic and oaky, with a massive core of cassis, cherry and chocolate fruit encased in perfect tannins. What grace and power, what balance. (Nov. 2005)
90 Points - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Saturated, bright ruby. Ripe, brooding aromas of black cherry, licorice and mint. Dense, uncompromisingly dry and tightly wound, with a very rich dark chocolate flavor leavened by terrific vinosity. Extremely backward today but juicy, structured and very persistent on the finish. (May/June 2003)
Blend and Grape Sources 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard in Oakville.
Appellation Oakville, Napa Valley
Harvest Dates September 13-26, 2001
Aging/Cooperage 23 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in February 2004.