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94pt Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014

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This wine is sold by Jackson Wines & Spirits, a California licensed retailer
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Without Joseph Phelps and his innovative vision, today’s Napa may still be a simple, small potatoes wine region. It’s a bold statement, but it’s one that’s partially backed up by his eponymous winery’s uncanny knack for producing mind-blowing Parker darlings. This sublime 2014 Cab Sauv provides excellent proof of this axiom. Winemaking wizard Ashley Hepworth sources fruit culled from a wide host of exquisite estate vines to create an opulent expression of intense fruit and supple smoothness that may make Bacchus himself cock an eyebrow. Luscious notes of dried blueberry, violet, and nuanced clove segue to seductively unraveling layers of black currant jam, tobacco, and vanilla bean before reaching a long, silky conclusion.

About the wine

2014’s harvest felt like it hit the fast-forward button at times. This was a good thing, as quickening factors like steady springtime rains and consistent, heat spike-free summer temperatures led to intensely flavored grapes made plump by metronome-precise maturation. These succulent fruits were like candy to Joseph Phelps winemaker Ashley Hepworth, regardless of whatever appellation the estate-grown grapes she chose to source. She funneled this collection of viticultural voodoo into a curvy, lush goddess built upon the yin of flavor concentration and the yang of sleek smoothness. Succulent notes of blackberry, dried blueberry, and violet kick off the experience, accompanied by sly suggestions of cloves and graphite. A decadent palate attack sensually reveals layers of roasted coffee, black currant jam, dried fig, tobacco, and vanilla bean. Supple tannins lead to a lengthy, silk-draped finish. This wine added to Hepworth’s already massive collection of 90+point Parker scores, and it’s destined to add substantial gravitas to any Cab lover’s collection.    

WinemakerAshley Hepworth
Napa Valley 
94 pts, Christopher Sawyer, “Sommelier to the Stars” 
92 pts,
 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
- Vivino Rating:

4.5 / 5.0, 21 Reviews
4.2 / 5.0, 888 Reviews (2013 Vintage)
Grapes84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc
Vineyards: Estate-grown Napa Valley Vineyards
Cooperage: 18 months in 45% new oak barrels (55% French, 45% American), and 55% two-year old French and American oak barrels
ABV: 14.5%

About the winery and vineyard

From a reverential standpoint, Joseph Phelps’ name is right in the wheelhouse of icons like Robert Mondavi and Chuck Wagner. He was already a respected construction executive when he launched the winery in 1973, planting vineyards on 670 acres of old cattle ranch land. When the first vintage of the winery’s revolutionary Bordeaux-style blend Insignia hit the shelves the following year, it was clear he moved from building structures to building empires. Over the course of 44 years, Phelps’ winery has snapped up estate vineyards, hauled in three 100-point perfect scores from Wine Advocate, and saw its iconic Insignia label declared Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator in 2002. It’s a legacy that could allow them to coast on their laurels. Yet winemaker Ashley Hepworth won’t let such slacking occur, and her finely-tuned viticultural process ensures wines bearing Joseph’s moniker will land on various “Top 100” lists every year. For this stunning Cab Sauv, Ashley once again turns to the winery’s top-flight estate vineyards to create her singular brand of magic. These special vines are scattered about a venerable “who’s who” of Napa appellations, like Rutherford, Oakville, Stags Leap, and Oak Knoll, to name but a few. Each of these vineyards imparts its own distinctive characteristics to each grape it offers. Ashley makes sure these succinct voices blend in pure harmony, resulting in another Parker pleaser that does more than honor Joseph’s legacy. It propels it into the next century.

About the winemaker

Ashley Hepworth fell in love with wine while in the restaurant industry; a career that spanned her college years in Durango, Colorado and led her to the kitchen of the late Charlie Trotter in Chicago. This passion turned into a pursuit in 1999, when she joined Joseph Phelps as a harvest intern. Her star has skyrocketed from these humble roots, thanks in part to a key 2005 internship at Chateau Angelus. She happened to be at the prestigious St. Emilion winery when it nabbed a sacred 100 point Parker score, and the lessons learned from the gig have served her well since taking over as Phelps’ Winemaker in 2008. She’s since become a certified Parker favorite; the critic has rated 33 of her wines 90 points or better, including a whopping 13 bottles scored between 94 and 100 points. She’ll be quick to tell you her success stems from a near-subconscious following of Joseph Phelps’ philosophy, simply because his concept of confidently pushing the winery forward perfectly aligns with her own winemaking approach. 

94 pts, Christopher Sawyer, "Somm to the Stars"

"In Napa Valley, Joseph Phelps Winery applied artist-like attention to detail when they created Insignia, a complex cabernet Sauvignon-based Bordeaux style blend, which debuted in 1974. Over the next four decades, this deep, dense and complex proprietary wine has gone on to become one of the most cherished and celebrated cult wines of America. And today, Joe Phelps and his family’s commitment to making world-class wines resonates in all the artistic offerings from the winery’s portfolio. The latest example is the Joseph Phelps 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Crafted with 84% Cabernet, 8% Merlot and smaller touches of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, the wine opens up with elegant aromas of ripe blue fruits, wild berries, fresh violets, lavender, vanilla, roasted espresso beans and pipe tobacco. From there, the flavors seduce the senses with concentrated notes of ripe plum, blackberry, blueberry, black currants, bittersweet chocolate truffles, clove and nuances of savory spices. As the wine develops in the glass, these layers of lavish flavors are blanketed with the seamless combination of silky texture, firm tannins, and a lingering dry finish. Think of it as a baby version of Insignia or a complex Bordeaux-style cuvée at an admirable price. 

92 pts, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

“The 2014 is supple, with silky tannins, dark plum, blackcurrant and licorice-infused fruit with a touch of spice, a lushness on the attack and mid-palate, and a silky finish.  ...There is no doubt it has the concentration and overall balance to age nicely for 15-20 years.”

Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
Cab from CA Legend - Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Napa Valley 2014 – New Release
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Napa Valley 2014 – New Release
Ashley Hepworth melds estate grapes into a lush expression of intense flavor concentration and sleek smoothness.
Joseph Phelps is a Napa staple, and the 2014 is at the top of its game. It drinks like a junior version of the iconic Insignia – a testament to the quality off Phelps Cab!
Napa Innovator
Winery 3x 100pt WA Scores
2017-3-16 23:59:00 -08:00:00
#review=Christopher Sawyer, "Somm to the Stars":
94 / 100
#stars_review=Vivino Users (21 ratings):
#stars_review=Vivino Users (888 ratings - 2013 Vintage):
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Ends Today: Joseph Phelps Cabernet Napa Valley 2014 – New Release

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