2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Backus Vineyard
Winemaker Notes The 2002 vintage has the distinctive rich color we've come to associate with this vineyard, followed by a noise 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.
Winemaking Data Grapes were harvested at an average of 24.9° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 23 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in January 2005.
The 2002 vintage began much drier and cooler than 2001 and by the end of April, we measure an average of 6 inches less rain during the first quarter than previous years.
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 physiology to respond with an increase in sugar and 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.
97 Points - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard has taken on a far more singular character and was roaring compared to its broodingly backward taste of a year ago. Inky, blue/purple in color with a nose of creosote, hot rocks, blackberries and cassis, as well as a distinctive mineral character, this highly concentrated, extracted 2002 boasts tremendous density, loads of tannin, and a monster finish. (Feb. 2005)
89 Points - Wine Spectator
Shows a rustic edge to the dried currant, plum and mineral notes. Full-blown, a tad dry and tannic on the finish, but everything is in place. 2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective. (May 2012)
95 Points - Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
From sniff to finish, this head-turning young wine is nothing less than a classic expression of all that is best in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It's juicy, concentrated aromas are rich in cassis and plentiful sweet oak while finding highlights of mineral and black soil terroir, and its very deep, keenly fruited flavors follow suit. The wine is wonderfully balanced and offers plenty of promise for an increasingly supple future if allowed the six to ten years of cellaring that its depth and beauty have surely earned. Kudos to Phelps for its one-two combination of stunners. (Dec. 2005)
95 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Right up there with the best of the '01 Napas. Smooth and polished, with a velvety mouthfeel that conveys cherry and blackberry flavors. (Mar. 2005)
Blend and Grape Sources 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate-owned Backus Vineyard in Oakville.
Appellation Oakville, Napa Valley
Harvest Dates September 21 - Otober 9, 2002
Aging/Cooperage 23 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled in January 2005.