Wine Library

Wine Library


2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard

Winemaker Notes A wine of great depth and integrity, 2017 Backus offers aromatic blackberry, blueberry, cocoa powder and black pepper with notes of forest floor and fragrant young violet. Powerful tannin structure envelopes vibrant layers of crushed rock minerality and black fruit with a fresh, inviting, lingering finish.

Winemaking Data Each block at Backus Vineyard remains separate during harvest and fermentation. The complexity of this vineyard can be highlighted through the fruit and depth found in the North and Plateau blocks paired with the structure and concentration in the steep hillside fruit grown in the South block.

Vintage Notes The 2017 growing season saw much needed record-breaking winter rainfall which helped replenish groundwater and the vines. The cool, wet start to the season delayed budbreak and bloom compared to the three previous years. The summer and fall months were warm with regular heat spikes to ripen the grapes. Overall, 2017 was reminiscent of the 1997 and 2015 growing seasons. The wines are fresh with ample, refined tannin and classic eastern Oakville character.

Reviews 96+ Points - Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a little coaxing before it charges out of the glass with bold expressions of crème de cassis, boysenberries and black cherry preserves plus suggestions of cast-iron pan, violets, allspice and sandalwood with a touch of fragrant earth. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is absolutely packed with muscular black fruit preserves flavors, beautifully supported by finely grained tannins and lovely freshness, finishing with loads of mineral and spice fireworks. -LPB, Oct. 2020

95 Points - Wine Spectator
Well-packed, featuring a range of steeped red and black currant fruit entwined with menthol, sage and tobacco notes, carried by an alluring swath of warm loam. Pretty grippy underneath, so put this one away for a bit. Best from 2022 through 2036. -JM, July, 2020

95 Points - James Suckling
Very flamboyant for the vintage with crushed blueberries, blackberries and flowers. Full and very rich with layers of fruit and tannins, which then pull back at the finish. Excellent wine with lots of polished tannins. Needs some time. Try after 2022. -Jan. 2020

96+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck
More pure crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, smoked tobacco, and violet notes emerge from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard, and if the Insignia is the Chateau Margaux of the valley, this is a more Pauillac, Château Latour-like effort that brings incredible power, richness, and minerality. Dense purple-hued, full-bodied, and structured, it nevertheless holds onto the silky, elegant style of the vintage beautifully. It's certainly enjoyable today in a youthful sort of way, but it should hit prime time with another 5-7 years of bottle age and evolve for 25-30 years or more. (Jan. 2021)

Tasting Notes Download Tasting Notes (pdf)


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Blend and Grape Sources 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot from our Backus Vineyard in Oakville, Napa Valley.

Appellation Oakville, Napa Valley

Aging/Cooperage 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Marcel Cadet and Darnajou before bottling


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