Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
|Region||California, Napa Valley|
This is a beautiful wine, effusive in cassis, black cherry, woody cedar and sage. With small amounts of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it offers substantial structure and tannin weight, with ample clove spice and toasted oak. It is built to age; enjoy best from 2025 to 2030.
Offers a chunky feel, featuring a mix of dark plum and black currant fruit, with singed mesquite, dried bay leaf, sage and licorice root notes. Shows youthful rambunctiousness, balanced by good underlying structure and ample fruit. Should resolve easily with cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2034.
This 2017 is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc, with most of the fruit coming from Phelp's St Helena vineyard this year. "But," winemaker Ashley Hepworth told me, "we declassified a lot of wine - sold a lot on the bulk market. We had some tough blending decisions." Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon sashays out of the glass with open-knit, alluring baked plums, stewed cherries, mulberries and warm cassis with hints of spice cake, cracked pepper and tobacco leaf. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers a great intensity of black berry and exotic spice layers, framed by soft tannins and lively freshness, finishing with impressive length. 12,270 cases were made - about half the normal production.
The only wine here that has a touch of grower fruit, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley saw a two-thirds reduction in production due to declassifying due to smoke taint. It has a classic Cabernet nose of blackcurrants, scorched earth, tobacco, and lead pencil as well as a medium-bodied, supple, elegant, pretty style on the palate. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.
The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is soft, fruity and open-knit - all qualities that make it a good choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Dark cherry, leather, tobacco, espresso, cedar and menthol are nicely pushed forward. In tasting, the 2017 gives the impression that it will mature relatively quickly, so I wouldn't push my luck on aging, Production was down a whopping two-thirds.