2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker Notes Our 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet displays dark ripe fruit aromas of plum and blackberry. The integration of subtle oak flavors comes from the variety of cooper selected, yielding a hint of cinnamon and allspice. Chocolate and typical cigar box noted pave the way for a velvety finish with sweet oak, cassis, and well-balanced tannins.
Winemaking Data Grapes were harvested between September 24 and October 29 at an average of 24.4° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 20 months in a combination of new French and American oak barrels (55%) and two- to four-year-old French and American oak (45%), before being blended and bottled in July 2005.
A cool, wet spring seemed to forecast a vintage that would have difficult ripening, but July and August were unusually warm without the fog-shrouded mornings typical of Napa Valley summers. Clear skies provided a complete daily dose of solar radiation to the vines and fruit, allowing for good photosynthesis and grape development, and hot weather in mid-September provided additional heat accumulation.
After the heat spell broke, it was replaced by near-ideal weather conditions of overcast mornings, warm, sunny afternoons and temperatures in the low to mid-eighties.
Actual crop harvested was significantly lower than estimates with less than two tons per acre from many vineyards as a result of earlier crop removal to mitigate mildew. Berry size was small with excellent acid balance; and overall quality -- less variable than '02 -- appears excellent.
91 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Shows the deft Phelps touch in softly complex texture whose tannins are just as velvety as they come, and the ripe, pure fruit. The blackberry, cassis and red cherry flavors are enriched with vanilla and toast from oak. Drink this fine Cabernet now and through 2008. (July 2006)
89 Points - Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
From its very well-proportioned, handsomely defined aromas of ripe currants, balanced oak and subtle suggestions of chocolate to its tasty and solidly extracted flavors of cassis and sweet spice, this delicious wine is convincingly keyed on Cabernet Sauvignon varietal characteristics. It is moderately full in body and slightly supple in feel on the palate, and it is firmed by a solid measure of integral tannins. It warrants at least a few years of age and will reward as many as five to eight. (Apr. 2006)
88 Points - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant, dark ruby-hued, medium bodied effort offering aromas of earth, berry fruit, herbs, and spice. It reflects this vintage, which has produced very good Cabernets, although they have not reached the pinnacles of the finest 2002s and 2001s. (Dec. 2006)
Blend and Grape Sources 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc from estate-owned vineyards and independent growers.
Appellation Napa Valley
Harvest Dates September 24 - October 29, 2003
Aging/Cooperage 20 months in a combination of new French and American oak barrels (55%) and two-to four-year-old French and American oak (45%), before being blended and bottled im July 2005.