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 Vintage2004 Label 1 of 39 
ProducerJoseph Phelps (web)
VarietyCabernet Sauvignon
SubRegionNapa Valley
AppellationNapa Valley
OptionsShow variety and appellation
UPC Code(s)010465208903

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2007 and 2014 (based on 48 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 90.3 pts. and median of 90 pts. in 211 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by beatles on 5/17/2015 & rated 91 points: Straight forward, very typical - but well balanced, the focus is still in the primary, dark fruit, there is an abundance of blackberry here, but the wine is not overdone, rather kept in line by more old world qualities, a distinct dryness in spite of the fruit and noticeable tannins. Great with rib eye. (143 views)
 Tasted by Morten_Jorgensen on 4/30/2015: This won't evolve further - drink up within a year or so. (251 views)
 Tasted by irish95 on 4/23/2015 & rated 92 points: Nice bottle, but nothing spectacular. Part of the problem may have been that it followed a bunch of Italian and French wines and therefore it didn't feel as elegant as an aged Phelps usually feels. Still was a bit fruit forward. It was great, just not spectacular. (294 views)
 Tasted by PourSomeRed on 4/4/2015 & rated 93 points: Great balance of fruit, oak, and earth. Is it at its peak? Yes or close to it depending on your taste. I wish I had more. (362 views)
 Tasted by Swekman on 2/1/2015 & rated 93 points: This cabernet has a nose of dried cherries, fig, and leather. The oak tannins are bold and the finish is long and smooth. (775 views)
 Tasted by Whine-Oh on 11/8/2014 & rated 93 points: P n P. Ready to go out of btl. No visible bricking. Pure Napa cab heaven. There was wonderful casis n kirsh n some chocolate le to enjoy. Nose n palate both in a great place. Soft, mellow tannins rounded this out nicely. Drink now as it is in a good place. Only wish I had more! (1370 views)
 Tasted by ajfret01 on 10/17/2014: Very nice secondary notes, fresh leather with a hint of blackberry. Oak is still prominent with dark fruit and nice tannins. (1382 views)
 Tasted by Snag One on 9/10/2014 & rated 91 points: Essence of pencil shavings, toast, chocolate and coffee. Really soft tannins which move aside for layers of blueberries, figs, cassis, toast and a hint of vanilla. This was the last of four bottles we purchased in 2007. I wish we had bought more. (1478 views)
 Tasted by jbehrendt on 6/12/2014 & rated 92 points: Paired with grilled tenderloin steaks for Mike and Sarah's anniversary dinner. Also has 2004 Cakebread. This was a surprise. Really excellent. Complex with just enough fruit. The consensus opinion was that this was a bit better than the Cakebread. (1993 views)
 Tasted by tann0008 on 4/14/2014 & rated 94 points: Very nice after 10 years. Deep color but not too much heat. Fresh blackberry nose. Perfect drinking window for this vintage. (1953 views)
 Tasted by BGK810 on 4/10/2014 & rated 92 points: Drinking beautifully right now. Rich black cherry and black currant flavors and a long, lush finish. (1497 views)
 Tasted by capacious on 3/25/2014 & rated 90 points: A very good effort and a continuation of the dependable Phelps Napa which has been a good value. Wish it tasted different from other napa cabs (1710 views)
 Tasted by dead puddle on 12/24/2013 & rated 93 points: Blind tasting for my guests. Decanted one hour, served fresh at 14C. Nose seductive of sweat black currant black berries, pop corn topped with salt-butter caramel, light notes of underwood. Mouth sweat, on those jammed black berries, “crème brulée”, blond tobacco, a nice amount of sap, and a good freshness. Very technical and sex appealing. Perfect match with black angus an truffle purée. 93 (1862 views)
 Tasted by BGK810 on 11/21/2013 & rated 91 points: Rich black currant and ripe plum and blackberries. Delicious. Still youthful. (1603 views)
 Tasted by Ecoenophile on 11/13/2013 & rated 91 points: Decanted. Opened up nicely over the course of 90 minutes. Deep purple fruit (plum and black berry), a little briar flavor and some tabacco and leather hints. Solid finish with smooth tannins. Ready now - not sure it will get much better. (1393 views)
 Tasted by joncohen on 10/22/2013 & rated 90 points: Dense opaque maroon color; medium weight. Aromas of leather, dark cherry, eucalyptus, and cedar. On the palate there's a big hit of stewed cherry/plum fruit, with warm spice flavors emerging, followed by leather/cigar box/lead pencil. To be honest it would be less flabby with a bit more acid to balance out the fruit; but perhaps I am only revealing my general old world preferences in saying this -- surely it is unfair to assess a Phelps Cab for failing to show like a Bordeaux. Tannins are well-integrated at this point, and the resulting silky texture (mentioned by others as well, I see) is truly beautiful -- indeed, probably the wine's most impressive aspect, to my mind. I would guess it has now benefitted as much from bottle age as it will, so advise drinking up now. This is clearly an excellent exemplar of its type, even if its type is not my personal predilection. (1585 views)
 Tasted by capacious on 8/18/2013 & rated 91 points: First night was disjointed and too much alcohol. Second night more in balance and beginning to drink well. How long will this take. Went to friends to play Trump National in Cherry Hill. Finished final half four days after opening and drinking very nicely. Reticent opening Very atypical for this wine which we have liked for years (1899 views)
 Tasted by EvanRose on 6/25/2013 & rated 94 points: Delicious! Big red fruit flavor, great mouth feel and smooth long finish. Great with fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers and Italian cold cuts. (1646 views)
 Tasted by Capt Cutlass on 6/2/2013 & rated 90 points: Tasted side by side with Prieure Lichine of same vintage: both wines were decanted 45 mins before serving. Riper nose than the Bordeaux was no surprise with coffee and darker black/blue fruit. More coffee on the palate with cherries in a rich yet also mineral style. There was a slight creamy flavor which remained on the palate to the finish. Both wines were excellent with duck confit, the Prieure for its freshness and the Phelps for its smoothness. Both should still age gracefully a couple more years but I do not see either getting better for it - the Prieure looks set to hold out a little longer at this point. A fun comparison of Cabernet-dominated blends from the same year but very different terroirs. This shows that with bottle age great Napa and Bordeaux wines can come closer in tasting profile as the Cabernet characteristics start to dominate the individual styles. (1551 views)
 Tasted by primitivo on 5/27/2013 & rated 90 points: Drank alongside Quailsgate Old Vine Foch, which was interesting. The OVF is a much earthier and complex wine. The JP was much wore fruit forward, dark berries & plum, and overall a simpler wine. Still very enjoyable, and paired with tenderloin well. Nice body, smooth on the palate, medium finish. (1534 views)
 Tasted by WineGuyFL on 4/3/2013 & rated 90 points: The last of 3 bottles. The first two were better than the pro ratings, which center around 90. This bottle was, in my view, 90. Less fruit than before, but still very good. However, those that still have bottles should not let it get away from you. The commonly cited back end drink year of 2015 seems correct to me. (1704 views)
 Tasted by jbehrendt on 3/3/2013 & rated 90 points: An excellent wine. Paired with roast chicken over two nights. Great both nights. (1516 views)
 Tasted by psusfca on 1/15/2013 & rated 90 points: I think it is very good, albeit a little on the simple side. Has good front and mid palate but no real length. Tasty though. Soft tannins at this point. Good fruit though. Tasty wine, but have better from here (1520 views)
 Tasted by usbeauty on 1/14/2013 & rated 91 points: Decanted for an hour, then consumed as second bottle of the dinner at NOPA restaurant. Refined and elegant, with hints of cherry, and a dash of mint. Complex but a dry finish which suggested another year of bottle age would make this an even better drink. (1397 views)
 Tasted by navybrat on 12/31/2012 & rated 92 points: The wine looks Violet colored. The legs are Slow. It smells like Violet, Petrol, Bark, Vanilla, Cherry, Plum, Gooseberry, and Red Currant. It tastes like Gooseberry, Raisin, Cherry, Espresso, and Medium Toast. The body is Medium/Full. The wine has Silky texture. The wine finishes Medium. (1225 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 2007, IWC Issue #132
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley) Subscribe to see review text.
By Stephen Tanzer
Vinous, May/June 2006, IWC Issue #126
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley) Subscribe to see review text.
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Joseph Phelps

Producer website

In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.

Nearly four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Twenty nine of 34 vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. From 1990 to 2007, the average score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is 94.5 pts., with the lowest score still a fabulous 91. The 2002 vintage was “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine, and the 2007 vintage has been rated 98 points by Robert Parker and 96 points by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oakville.

Beginning with the 2009 vintage, estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Backus (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. In addition, a small amount of Syrah is produced from fruit owned by Hyde Vineyards in Los Carneros.

Though the main focus is on Bordeaux varietals, Joe Phelps has had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally Chardonnay was sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Los Carneros. Through the years, however, Joe continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and his search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, 200 acres were acquired and planting began. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay are producing some remarkable wines which are available for tasting at the Freestone Guest Center. Visit Freestone Vineyards to learn more.

Cabernet Sauvignon



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