Joseph Phelps Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Price be damned, this is an authentically gorgeous, important Cabernet Sauvignon. It calls to mind the amazing 2001, with its huge, perfect tannins and acids and artistic appliqué of new oak. But the star of the show surely is the fruit. Mounds of ripe blackberries and cherries pile up, veering into currants and cassis and something wild and decadently animal, like charred meat. Fabulous now despite the firm tannins, and should evolve for many years.
The dense 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (93% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec) offers sweet creme de cassis aromas interwoven with scorched earth, espresso roast, and licorice. Full-bodied as well as elegant with sweet tannin, gorgeous purity, and admirable depth, this effort has developed beautifully since I tasted it last year. It appears to have 25 or more years of aging potential.
Cool but sweet aromas of medicinal black fruits, licorice, menthol and graphite; today this comes across as sweeter than the Insignia. Then massive and pliant for the year, showing a distinctly warmer character than the Insignia. With aeration, this exuded lovely inner-palate perfume, thanks to bright acidity, which gives lift to the fruit. But this very young wine finishes with substantial tannic clout.
Shows off a distinctive minty herbal character and is dry and firmly structured on the palate, with glimpses of red currant and black cherry peaking through. Yet this is tight, focused, concentrated and balanced, and once it's past this phase, it should provide plenty of excitement.