Vintage emergence: Joseph Phelps 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Most of the time, top-shelf wines produced by Joseph Phelps are not very affordable and sometimes hard to get. But the 2014 vintage was a year of ideal growing conditions and a wonderful harvest. This all translates to some really fine wines becoming within reach of many buyers who may have passed them up another year.
As an added bonus, even though their label says “Cabernet Sauvignon”, Phelps’ 2104 (like most other vintages) is actually a blend of 5 different grapes. This is because, here in the U.S., producers only have to blend in 75% or more of the grape varietal that is on the label to sell it as that type of wine. So, in reality, this bottle (actually 84% Cabernet) is more like a Bordeaux Blend, making the tasting experience quite refined.
Even though this wine is still quite young by Cab standards, and Joseph Phelps would recommend racking it for 5-7 years or more, a taste right now has a silkiness that makes it table-ready anytime this season. That may be why it was released a little quicker than typical for Phelps and is showing up in so many places.
And the price tag is attractive too. Total wine has it for $67 and Costco has been selling it for just under $60. With top-shelf wine prices going up a little faster than most of us would like, this actually is an opportunity to get a hold of such an impressive wine without having to fork out some incredible amount.
As a recommendation for this well-priced vintage, you may want to consider taking on a little more than you normally would. There is also another reason for this, the 2015 vintage was a tough one for many producers with yields down due to heat and low rainfall. This could make many 2015’s more pricey and tough to get. Cabs will rack for years, making it no big deal to put some away now, then cut down buying for a year until things change again.
Remember, these Cabs are “big reds”, and as such, are best when served right out of the wine fridge along with red meat entrees. Or better yet, serve with one Joseph Phelps’ long recommended recipes, Straccetti di Manzo. Out of this world, especially when paired with wines like their 2014 Cab!