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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...
The 2012 vintage marks the fortieth Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon release from Joseph Phelps Vineyards. This latest bottling highlights beautiful aromatics of dark fruit, cigar box, dried herbs, graphite notes and pain grillé. Expressive Bing cherry, licorice, blueberry and blackberry layer this silky smooth wine of great depth and personality. Richly nuanced with supple tannins and a lingering velvety finish.
The 2012 growing season proved to be excellent from start to finish in Napa Valley. It was a warmer year than the prior three, lining up more closely with the 2008 growing season’s temperatures. Bud break occurred during the first two weeks of April and both bloom and veraison took place earlier than 2010 and 2011. August, September and October offered perfect ripening weather for superior fruit with exceptional quality.
Grapes were picked at sunrise, sorted and cold soaked prior to fermentation in stainless steel. The wine was aged for eighteen months in 40% new oak barrels (50% French, 50% American) and 60% two-year-old French and American oak barrels before bottling in June, 2014. The barrel coopers used included Ermitage, François Frères, Demptos (American), Nadalié (French and American), Canton (American) and Barrel Associates (American).
- 93 Points -
"The 2012 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon instantly grabs your attention with its opaque, deep inky color. After just a bit of air contact it begins to reveal wonderful aromas of ripe cassis, blackberries, dark chocolate and spices along with a touch of dried herbs and an earthy character. This is well structured around a full body that is richly textured and impressive for its depth and concentration. The long, supple finish is laced with a thick coating of delicious dark fruits and spices. This can be approached today, however for those looking to wait, it shows nice aging potential and will certainly benefit from a few additional years in bottle."See detailed press review
- 91 Points -
Anthony Gismondi, December 2015
2012 was the 40th vintage at Joseph Phelps and its clear there is a growing sense of style at Phelps. The nose is immediately appealing mixing dark fruits, cedar/cigar box and hints of garam masala. The lovely blance and a fresh attack with measured levels of ripe black fruit flecked with spice and licorice notes. Don’t be fooled by its smooth textures there is plenty of tannin to warrant further bottle ageing but if you have to drink it now think grilled beef or lamb.See detailed press review
- 91-93 POINTS -
"A beautiful, layered wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon wraps around the palate with gorgeous depth. Radiant, expressive and nuanced, the 2012 captures the essence of the year in its generous, inviting personality. Soft, silky tannins frame the voluptuous finish."See detailed press review