Joseph Phelps 2005 Backus Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)
97 Points

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.

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  • Alcohol
    14.5%
  • Bottle Size
    750 ml
  • Category
    Red
  • Date Published
    5/1/2009
  • User Avg Rating
    Not rated yet [Add Your Review]
About the Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide

Tasting Methodology and Goals

All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5–8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide context—vintage, variety or appellation—but never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

About the Scores

Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular product. Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying tasting note to learn about a product’s special characteristics.

    • 98–100
    • Classic
    • The pinnacle of quality.
    • 94–97
    • Superb
    • A great achievement.
    • 90–93
    • Excellent
    • Highly recommended.
    • 87–89
    • Very Good
    • Often good value; well recommended.
    • 83–86
    • Good
    • Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value.
    • 80–82
    • Acceptable
    • Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.

Products deemed Unacceptable (receiving a rating below 80 points) are not reviewed.

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Special Designations

Editors' Choice wines are those that offer excellent quality at a price above our Best Buy range, or a wine at any price with unique qualities that merit special attention.

Cellar Selections are wines deemed highly collectible and/or requiring time in a temperature-controlled wine cellar to reach their maximum potential. A Cellar Selection designation does not mean that a wine must be stored to be enjoyed, but that cellaring will probably result in a more enjoyable bottle. In general, an optimum time for cellaring will be indicated.

Best Buys are wines that offer a high level of quality in relation to price. There are no specific guidelines or formulae for determining Best Buys, but they are generally priced at $15 or less.

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Wine Enthusiast Magazine tastes, rates and reviews wines, spirits and beers for publication in our Buying Guide, both in print and online. If you are interested in submitting samples for review and publication, please click here.

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