2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend and Grape Sources
96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard in Oakville.
Harvest Dates
September 13 - 22, 2004
Winemaker Notes
Grapes were harvested at an average 25.0° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 23 months in new French oak barrel manufactured by Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle and Darnajou.  The wine was subsequently bottled without filtration in December 2006 and production was limited to 1500 cases.

Our fist Backus Vineyard 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.

Concentration was the defining characteristic of 2004 grapes in both color and flavor.  The Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon reveals generous flavors of dark fruit, black currant, graphite, baking spices, liquid mineral and dark rich chocolate.  The wine lingers on the palate, is full of supple tannins and ends with a brilliant finish.
Vintage Notes
High quality and reduced yields characterized the 2004 vintage, which started out quite warm in early spring, then settled into a balmy weather pattern through July and most of August where mornings were cool and afternoon temperatures stayed in the low to mid-90's.

However, on August 27th a three-week heat spell began with many days measuring over 100 degrees.  As a result, some of the ripening fruit became dehydrated and had to be removed from the vines prior to harvesting.  Depending on location, crop yields were reduced from ten to forty percent.

Our job in crafting the 2004 wines was to moderate the over-ripe characteristics, but from the very beginning the aromas and flavors drifting out of the fermenters signaled outstanding quality.  Color and extract were high.  In barrel, reds appeared rich and forward in structure -- characteristics that have continued to evolve and develop with bottle age.