2003 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($48)

WINE FIND

March 29, 2006|By MICHAEL DRESSER

This wine is a bit of a splurge, but it is well worth it for admirers of classic Napa Valley cabernet. Joseph Phelps has been producing great cabernet for three decades, and I've been around long enough to taste most vintages. This one is as fine as any young Phelps cab I've tasted - and that's saying a lot. It's about the perfect combination of youthful accessibility and long-term aging potential. The texture is velvety, and the flavors are typical Napa - black cherry, black currant, chocolate, herbs - but with just a little more nuance and roundness than most of its peers. Enjoy one bottle now, put another away for 10 to 15 years, and it'll be $100 well spent. Serve with standing rib roast, rack of lamb.

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