2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard
Blend and Grape Sources
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard in Oakville.
Sept. 21 - Oct. 9, 2002
Grapes were harvested at an average 24.8° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 23 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in January, 2005. Production was limited to 1,000 cases.
Our first Backus Cabernet Sauvignon was produced in 1977 from a 6.75 acre parcel leased from Marian Backus. We believed this steeply-terraced hillside vineyard with its brick-red soil was capable of producing outstanding wines, and this was confirmed in subsequent vintages, especially during the 90's. When the entire 45-acre parcel (which included 21.5 plantable acres) was offered for sale in 1996, we enthusiastically bought it. Still, even we were unprepared for the extraordinary quality that has come out of this vineyard in the last few years. The 2002 vintage has the distinctive rich color we've come to associate with this vineyard, followed by a nose of licorice, minerals and dark roast coffee. Concentrated mineral and rich black fruit flavors predominate, and a seamless finish contributes to the wine showing exceptionally well, even at this early stage.
The 2002 vintage began much drier and cooler than 2001 and by the end of April we measured an average of 6 inches less rain than during the first quarter of the previous year. Consistent warmth throughout the summer, along with 20 days of morning fog for both July and August, resulted in vine development running at full efficiency -- shoot and leaf growth was strong and vine canopies were entirely filled with leaves to capture the sun's energy. In September the weather pattern changed dramatically. High temperatures and dry north winds caused vine physiology to respond with an increase in sugar and a drop in acidity. Fortunately, the summer months had promoted remarkably strong color and flavor development, enabling healthy vineyards to withstand the September heat wave and ripen to full maturity.