1996 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard
Winemaker Notes The 1996 Backus Cabernet exhibits a surprising depth of color with concentrated, clack cherry/cassis and mineral-like aromas that blossom in the glass after brief aeration. This is a rich, dense wine with flavors of black, chewy fruits and ripe, dusty tannins that are the hallmarks of the vineyard.
Winemaking Data Grapes were harvested at an average of 24.2° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged for 26 months in new French oak barrels before being blended and bottled in February 1999.
The 1996 vintage was characterized by a problematical growing season that reduced tonnage in the Napa Valley by 20%. This was due to a week-long rainstorm during the spring blooming period which damaged grape clusters and reduced crop yields, and a 10-day heat spell in the vines and delayed ripening.
Ideal weather finally appeared in September, creating the conditions necessary for the fruit to reach desired maturity levels. Still, there was a great deal of variability within each vineyard, and a rigorous selection process was employed at harvest to cull unwanted fruit.
94 Points - Wine & Spirits
Pure, succulent Cabernet fruitiness, this practically glows in the glass - but there's a firm, balanced grip, a belt of structure tightening around that core of fruit. (Dec. 2000)
91 Points - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard is an opaque purple-colored wine with a licorice, cassis, powdered mineral, and earth scented nose that is attributable to the terroir of this 6.75-acre vineyard. Wow, what a muscular, macho, structured Cabernet Sauvignon this wine turned out to be. (Dec. 1997)
93 Points - Wine Spectator
Amazingly supple and plush, with elegant coffee, currant, black cherry and spice flavors, this is beautifully crafted, with fine tannins. Deceptively subtle and sophisticated. (Oct. 1999)
Blend and Grape Sources 100% Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard.
Appellation Oakville, Napa Valley
Harvest Dates September 13, 1996
Aging/Cooperage 26 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in February 1999.