Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

9.21560 ratings
9.1159 pro ratings
Napa Valley, California, USA
Cabernet Sauvignon
Onion, Shallot, Garlic, Pasta, Venison, Tomato-Based, Potato, Pork, Chocolate & Caramel, White Rice, Mushrooms, Beef, Lamb, Chili & Hot Spicy
Top Notes For
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.2

Time to check in on the 2002 Napa Cabernet. As good as it tastes tonight, I’ll wait another 7-10 years to open another one. For me, their Insignia & the Backus are their big expensive wines, but not necessarily my favorite. In fact, the Backus; which is their most expensive is my least favorite. The Insignia in good years is hard to beat with 20+ years of age. However, it’s their regular Napa that is my favorite with around 25 years of age. This 02 is no different. The 02 Insignia was WS’s wine of the year. So, how bad can the 02 Napa be? It’s quite good tonight, but I’m thinking how awesome it’ll be in 2025. Their 25 year old regular Napa Cabernets are more often than not my favorite. Pound for pound & dollar for dollar hard to beat if you show patience. That’s why I say, start collecting as young as possible! On the nose the 02 shows; dark currants, burnt ambers, shades of menthol, graphite, pine tar, blackberries, black plum, dark cherries, black raspberries, notes of blue fruits, raspberry cola, saddlewood, well layered soft baking spices, mocha, milk & dark chocolate, light bay leaf & sage, volcanic minerals, dry crushed rock powder, dry & fresh dark florals with violets. The body is still big & full. Strong, rounded tannins that still have teeth. The structure, tension, length are very nice but still need development. The balance is quite nice. The palate reveals; ripe, ruby, dark currants, burnt ambers, shades of menthol, graphite, pine tar, blackberries, black plum, dark cherries, black raspberries, notes of blue fruits, raspberry cola with strawberries & cherries painting the background, chewy leather, saddlewood, well layered soft baking spices, mocha, milk & dark chocolate, light bay leaf & sage, steeped black tea, volcanic minerals, dry crushed rock powder, loamy wet clay, dry & fresh dark florals, lavender with violets. The acidity is perfectly round and runs like a river. The well polished, elegant finish lasts minutes and doesn’t dip or fade. Beautiful, complex well made wine that still needs time to show what an all-star it will be in 2023-25. Photos of; a couple of JP’s terrace views, tasting area with their old large vats and their remodel sitting area with actual wine aging in the main relaxing lobby area.

What a different wine after Coravining it a week ago. Much; softer, rounder, richer with floral, blue fruit mix explosion!

Time to check in on the 2002 Napa Cabernet. As good as it tastes tonight, I’ll wait another 7-10 years to open another one. For me, their Insignia & the Backus are their big expensive wines, but not necessarily my favorite. In fact, the Backus; which is their most expensive is my least favorite. The Insignia in good years is hard to beat with 20+ years of age. However, it’s their regular Napa that is my favorite with around 25 years of age. This 02 is no different. The 02 Insignia was WS’s wine of the year. So, how bad can the 02 Napa be? It’s quite good tonight, but I’m thinking how awesome it’ll be in 2025. Their 25 year old regular Napa Cabernets are more often than not my favorite. Pound for pound & dollar for dollar hard to beat if you show patience. That’s why I say, start collecting as young as possible! On the nose the 02 shows; dark currants, burnt ambers, shades of menthol, graphite, pine tar, blackberries, black plum, dark cherries, black raspberries, notes of blue fruits, raspberry cola, saddlewood, well layered soft baking spices, mocha, milk & dark chocolate, light bay leaf & sage, volcanic minerals, dry crushed rock powder, dry & fresh dark florals with violets. The body is still big & full. Strong, rounded tannins that still have teeth. The structure, tension, length are very nice but still need development. The balance is quite nice. The palate reveals; ripe, ruby, dark currants, burnt ambers, shades of menthol, graphite, pine tar, blackberries, black plum, dark cherries, black raspberries, notes of blue fruits, raspberry cola with strawberries & cherries painting the background, chewy leather, saddlewood, well layered soft baking spices, mocha, milk & dark chocolate, light bay leaf & sage, steeped black tea, volcanic minerals, dry crushed rock powder, loamy wet clay, dry & fresh dark florals, lavender with violets. The acidity is perfectly round and runs like a river. The well polished, elegant finish lasts minutes and doesn’t dip or fade. Beautiful, complex well made wine that still needs time to show what an all-star it will be in 2023-25. Photos of; a couple of JP’s terrace views, tasting area with their old large vats and their remodel sitting area with actual wine aging in the main relaxing lobby area.

What a different wine after Coravining it a week ago. Much; softer, rounder, richer with floral, blue fruit mix explosion!

Mar 24th, 2018
Rob Brobst III

Yes 95 points...... properly decanted.

Yes 95 points...... properly decanted.

Feb 21st, 2018
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.5

Third course. Cabbages, Root Vegetables, Natural juices. Oooh la la! Still fresh and dancing on the palate. What a complex tango on the palate. Just meat stock in this dish to pair with such a beautifully resolved soft complex wine that is still holding its fruit. @PlateandBottle

Third course. Cabbages, Root Vegetables, Natural juices. Oooh la la! Still fresh and dancing on the palate. What a complex tango on the palate. Just meat stock in this dish to pair with such a beautifully resolved soft complex wine that is still holding its fruit. @PlateandBottle

Jan 28th, 2018
Greg Ballington

Co-Founder of Millennial Drinkers Wine Blog

9.0

Deep ruby red. Green and herbal on the nose to start but blew off leading to a touch of heat, anise, cinnamon and dark berries. Medium plus tannins (6.5/10) and medium plus bodied. Layers of black fruit on the palate with some more cassis and a touch of gravel. Solid structure and medium plus to long finish. Drink till 2028. (90+)

Deep ruby red. Green and herbal on the nose to start but blew off leading to a touch of heat, anise, cinnamon and dark berries. Medium plus tannins (6.5/10) and medium plus bodied. Layers of black fruit on the palate with some more cassis and a touch of gravel. Solid structure and medium plus to long finish. Drink till 2028. (90+)

Oct 21st, 2017
Aaron Means

Boring in a good way. Juicy, ripe blackberry-oak sauce. Hint of smoke. Tannins are drying. Lots of appeal, but not much for me. No complexity. Just high end simple Cab sauce

Boring in a good way. Juicy, ripe blackberry-oak sauce. Hint of smoke. Tannins are drying. Lots of appeal, but not much for me. No complexity. Just high end simple Cab sauce

Oct 4th, 2017
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.4

On the nose, sweet dark currants. Ripe & rich blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, black raspberries & poached strawberries. Fair amount of baking spices, anise, black raspberry cola, black tea, violets and fresh dark florals. The palate is lush, beautiful & fresh. The fruits perfectly ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, black raspberries & poached strawberries. Really delicious! Black raspberry cola, anise, moist rich turned earth, sweetened black tea, a touch of dark crushed rocks, some, sry top soil, a note of bay leaf, fresh tobacco leaf, very little graphite, nice round acidity and a long, slightly dry tannin fruit finish that last over a minute. It's very good now but patience will be rewarded waiting five more years to open. @Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher

On the nose, sweet dark currants. Ripe & rich blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, black raspberries & poached strawberries. Fair amount of baking spices, anise, black raspberry cola, black tea, violets and fresh dark florals. The palate is lush, beautiful & fresh. The fruits perfectly ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black plum, plum, black raspberries & poached strawberries. Really delicious! Black raspberry cola, anise, moist rich turned earth, sweetened black tea, a touch of dark crushed rocks, some, sry top soil, a note of bay leaf, fresh tobacco leaf, very little graphite, nice round acidity and a long, slightly dry tannin fruit finish that last over a minute. It's very good now but patience will be rewarded waiting five more years to open. @Paul Treadway Huntington Beacher

Sep 9th, 2017
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.4

On the nose; sweet florals cassis, dark cherries, blackberries, poached strawberries, plum, cherries, hues of blueberries, sweet saddlewood, vapors of liqueur, black olive and dry red florals. The body is medium with 75% resolved tannin structure. The fruits still very fresh. Ripe; dark cherries, cherries, blackberries, plum, dry cranberries & pomegranate. Loamy dry soils, saddlewood, dry brush, anise, dark volcanic minerals, steeped tea, black cherry cola, round, fresh, mouthwatering acidity and a long drier and slightly lean, round finish with a lift of minerality at the end. Out of magnum.

On the nose; sweet florals cassis, dark cherries, blackberries, poached strawberries, plum, cherries, hues of blueberries, sweet saddlewood, vapors of liqueur, black olive and dry red florals. The body is medium with 75% resolved tannin structure. The fruits still very fresh. Ripe; dark cherries, cherries, blackberries, plum, dry cranberries & pomegranate. Loamy dry soils, saddlewood, dry brush, anise, dark volcanic minerals, steeped tea, black cherry cola, round, fresh, mouthwatering acidity and a long drier and slightly lean, round finish with a lift of minerality at the end. Out of magnum.

Sep 9th, 2017
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.5

On the nose, amazing sweet, ripe, bright; dark cherries, cherries, blackberries, dry cranberries & rhubarb. Hints of black licorice, menthol & eucalyptus with fresh & dry dark florals. The body is lean and completely resolved. The fruits are amazingly bright, sweet and fresh. This is a bottle you never want to see it empty as you want to sip this all night. The wine is crushingly delicious. Sweet, dark cherries, cherries, poached strawberries, rhubarb, lean blackberries & dry cranberry. Ultra soft, delicate minerality, atouch of underbrush, sweet tobacco leaf, the softest suede leather imaginable, saddlewood, dripping acidity and lean elegant finish the is very well balanced. A real treat to drink wines at this age out of magnum.

On the nose, amazing sweet, ripe, bright; dark cherries, cherries, blackberries, dry cranberries & rhubarb. Hints of black licorice, menthol & eucalyptus with fresh & dry dark florals. The body is lean and completely resolved. The fruits are amazingly bright, sweet and fresh. This is a bottle you never want to see it empty as you want to sip this all night. The wine is crushingly delicious. Sweet, dark cherries, cherries, poached strawberries, rhubarb, lean blackberries & dry cranberry. Ultra soft, delicate minerality, atouch of underbrush, sweet tobacco leaf, the softest suede leather imaginable, saddlewood, dripping acidity and lean elegant finish the is very well balanced. A real treat to drink wines at this age out of magnum.

Sep 9th, 2017
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

8.9

Not showing as well at this stage as I'm accustom to seeing from Phelps. There is normally better fruit & tannin structure. It's definitely showing the relatively cool summer weather Napa had in 2010. I'd say a dumb faze but the 10 is not showing the same quality, concentration, complexity & beauty as many of the vintages I've enjoyed from them over the many years. Still an enjoyable wine. Lots of lean; blackberries, dark, slightly liqueured cherries, blueberries, poached strawberries, mocha powder, baking spices, loamy soils, crushed dry rocks, spice-box, dusty tannins with decent acidity & finish. However, the 10 Napa is showing to be an off vintage for Joseph Phelps at this point. It's still early and there is certainly time for this wine to evolve but I am not seeing the raw elements for that in this bottle and or vintage. This is a drink in the first 10 years or so.

Not showing as well at this stage as I'm accustom to seeing from Phelps. There is normally better fruit & tannin structure. It's definitely showing the relatively cool summer weather Napa had in 2010. I'd say a dumb faze but the 10 is not showing the same quality, concentration, complexity & beauty as many of the vintages I've enjoyed from them over the many years. Still an enjoyable wine. Lots of lean; blackberries, dark, slightly liqueured cherries, blueberries, poached strawberries, mocha powder, baking spices, loamy soils, crushed dry rocks, spice-box, dusty tannins with decent acidity & finish. However, the 10 Napa is showing to be an off vintage for Joseph Phelps at this point. It's still early and there is certainly time for this wine to evolve but I am not seeing the raw elements for that in this bottle and or vintage. This is a drink in the first 10 years or so.

Jul 23rd, 2017
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.4

Last weekend, we enjoyed the 06 Napa. Tonight, we coravin-ed an 07 for comparison. I have to tell you that their Napa Cabernets are pretty consistent year to year despite changes in weather etc.. However, many people & critics revered the 07 vintage and with cause. It's has better structure, length tension & balance over the 06. Yet, the 06 is nearly just as luxurious as the 07. For me, I've had more expensive Napa Producers than the JP Napa. For example, some; Carters, Realm, Blankiet, Merus & Kobalt just to name a few. Keep in mind, I said some and not all. Many of these wines are twice the price of the JP Napa yet did not deliver twice the pleasure. In fact, some not as much pleasure and some only as good for twice & more the the price. I love really good wine, but I love wine that delivers 3-4 times on the price even more. JP Napa does that with 10+ years in the bottle...not upon release or in it's infancy. If you drink them early, you're just throwing your $ away. This 07 was in the $40-$42 range at Costco upon release. As I taste it tonight, it's such a steal. I'm not here to sell you on JP, I'm simply sharing my long history with them and tasting them against other more expensive Napa Cabernets. If you are 25-35, just buy these and forget about them for 10+ years. I believe you'll be happy you did. The nose of the 07 is ripe, beautiful; blackberries, dark cherries, blueberries, boysenberries, black plum & plum. Liqueur notes, warm toast, anise, saddlewood, baking spices, violets and dark fresh & dry florals. The palate is beauty & complexity. The mouthfeel is thick, rich, lush and elegant. The dusty/grainy tannins are nicely resolved but have another 8-10 years to completely resolve. The fruits are ripe, rich; blackberries, dark cherries, blueberries, boysenberries, black plum, plum & black raspberries. Lead pencil shavings, mint, eucalyptus, herbaceous notes, leather, tobacco with ash, cinnamon, nutmeg, notes of vanilla, cedar, dry crushed rocks, loamy soils, underbrush, violets, dark, dry & fresh dark florals. The length, structure, tension & balance are pronounced and will hold up for many years to come. The acidity is simply perfect. As for the finish that will only get better. It's; long, beautiful, elegant and sticks to your palate. It hasn't faded in over 5 minutes. This wine will continue to evolve and further impress. I can't wait to taste it's enhanced elegance in another 8-10 years. Photo tour of; their terrace view, small berries that translate to great wines of concentration, Bill Phelps who has taken over for his late father Joseph and one of many areas to relax and sip their wines in their newly remodel estate.

Last weekend, we enjoyed the 06 Napa. Tonight, we coravin-ed an 07 for comparison. I have to tell you that their Napa Cabernets are pretty consistent year to year despite changes in weather etc.. However, many people & critics revered the 07 vintage and with cause. It's has better structure, length tension & balance over the 06. Yet, the 06 is nearly just as luxurious as the 07. For me, I've had more expensive Napa Producers than the JP Napa. For example, some; Carters, Realm, Blankiet, Merus & Kobalt just to name a few. Keep in mind, I said some and not all. Many of these wines are twice the price of the JP Napa yet did not deliver twice the pleasure. In fact, some not as much pleasure and some only as good for twice & more the the price. I love really good wine, but I love wine that delivers 3-4 times on the price even more. JP Napa does that with 10+ years in the bottle...not upon release or in it's infancy. If you drink them early, you're just throwing your $ away. This 07 was in the $40-$42 range at Costco upon release. As I taste it tonight, it's such a steal. I'm not here to sell you on JP, I'm simply sharing my long history with them and tasting them against other more expensive Napa Cabernets. If you are 25-35, just buy these and forget about them for 10+ years. I believe you'll be happy you did. The nose of the 07 is ripe, beautiful; blackberries, dark cherries, blueberries, boysenberries, black plum & plum. Liqueur notes, warm toast, anise, saddlewood, baking spices, violets and dark fresh & dry florals. The palate is beauty & complexity. The mouthfeel is thick, rich, lush and elegant. The dusty/grainy tannins are nicely resolved but have another 8-10 years to completely resolve. The fruits are ripe, rich; blackberries, dark cherries, blueberries, boysenberries, black plum, plum & black raspberries. Lead pencil shavings, mint, eucalyptus, herbaceous notes, leather, tobacco with ash, cinnamon, nutmeg, notes of vanilla, cedar, dry crushed rocks, loamy soils, underbrush, violets, dark, dry & fresh dark florals. The length, structure, tension & balance are pronounced and will hold up for many years to come. The acidity is simply perfect. As for the finish that will only get better. It's; long, beautiful, elegant and sticks to your palate. It hasn't faded in over 5 minutes. This wine will continue to evolve and further impress. I can't wait to taste it's enhanced elegance in another 8-10 years. Photo tour of; their terrace view, small berries that translate to great wines of concentration, Bill Phelps who has taken over for his late father Joseph and one of many areas to relax and sip their wines in their newly remodel estate.

Jul 15th, 2017