Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Napa Valley, California

It was March 1, 1973 when Joe took possession of the 600-acre cattle ranch on the east side of St. Helena. He wasted no time, laying out and planting 100 acres of vineyards with the help of Walter Schug, whom he’d hired as winemaker. They planted everything – Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Johannisberg Riesling, Gewurztraminer. The property was a blank slate, and Joe was game to try just about anything. Over the next four decades Joe ran his namesake winery with vision, an unwavering commitment to quality and a strong taste for innovation. When Bill Phelps moved to Napa Valley in 1998, Joe remained involved day-to-day, but over the next decade he gradually relinquished control to the 2nd generation. By 2008, Bill was President of the winery and all four of Joe’s children occupied places on the winery’s Board of Directors. 2016 vintage – 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc from Phelp’s vineyards in South Napa, Oak Knoll District, St. Helena, Rutherford and Stags Leap District. Following early morning picking, grapes were sorted and cold soaked prior to fermentation. The wine was aged for eighteen months in 48% new oak barrels (62% French, 38% American) and 52% one- to two-year-old French and American oak barrels before bottling. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is ultra-concentrated with dense black fruit, anise, roasted coffee, ripe blueberries, cedar box and graphite. A fresh and focused wine with creamy texture and a long luscious mouth feel with dusty earth, baking spices, sweet vanilla and fresh fig notes.