We all have had dreams that were so vivid and extraordinarily lovely that their memory haunted us long beyond awakening, filling our daytime hours with delight. If you can now recall one such reverie, then you will know what sort of experience you are likely to enjoy after drinking two remarkable wines from Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
“Luscious” is the perfect word to describe Joseph Phelps Vineyards 2009 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($32), and it is easily one of the best white wines that I have enjoyed in the past six months. Its appealing floral, spice, and ripe fruit aromas precede lively citrus, peach, and melon flavors, the pleasures of which are amplified by a creamy texture. From the first sip to its lingering finish, this wine is utterly delectable, and in my opinion it represents a perfectly crafted expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($54) manages to be at once elegant and powerful, with layered complexities of flavor that include dark berry, spice, plum, and cocoa. This impressive array of flavors is complemented by a rich texture, and the wine finds closure in an extended, oak-tinged finish. While this Cabernet Sauvignon will continue to evolve for at least a decade, it is tempting to enjoy it now in its exuberant youth, especially with meals that feature grilled meats.
Like some dreams, some wines are memorable, but in the case of these two uncommonly impressive efforts from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, I can claim something more and better: They are unforgettable.