Vintage : 2016
Country : USA
Region : Napa Valley
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned and operated wine estate with vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley and on the western Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1973 by Joseph Phelps, a successful construction executive and entrepreneur whose early interest in wine led him to establish vineyards on a 670-acre former cattle ranch in Napa Valley. Over the next 42 years Joe became one of the most respected figures in the California wine industry, building Joseph Phelps Vineyards into a critically-acclaimed winery internationally known for its iconic wines and unwavering commitment to quality.
Joe’s son, Bill Phelps, joined the family business in 1998 after a successful career in law, and as Executive Chairman now oversees Joseph Phelps Vineyards with a continued dedication to excellence.
Family owns and farms 425 acres of vines in Napa Valley on nine estate vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, Stags Leap District, Oak Knoll District, South Napa and Carneros, as well as 100 acres over two vineyards on the western Sonoma Coast. Strategically chosen over many decades, each vineyard has its own personality and brings a different characteristic to our wines. Our commitment to an estate-based model is our way of ensuring consistency and the highest quality we can possibly achieve. Our estate vineyards, paired with select long-term grower relationships, give our winemaking teams unparalleled depth and diversity when it comes to producing Joseph Phelps wines.
"Möet Hennessy Buys Napa's Joseph Phelps Vineyards"
The multinational luxury corporation has purchased a Napa icon, home of Insignia
In 1974 Joe Phelps had the idea to make a separate cuvee each year, one that would represent the finest wine he could make from each vintage. He didn’t necessarily think it would always be a Cabernet Sauvignon. It might be a white wine in some years, a Chardonnay or a Riesling, or it might be a Syrah or Merlot. His only thought was to make one wine that represented the best of what Joseph Phelps Vineyards could produce each year. He decided to name the wine Insignia, a proprietary name that would give him the flexibility to make the wine out of any varietal he chose.
As it happened, 1974 was a great year for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley and the 1974 Insignia was 94% Cabernet from the Stags Leap District. The following year Merlot dominated the blend, and in 1976, it returned to Cabernet, this time from the Eisele Vineyard. It was becoming increasingly clear that red Bordeaux varieties – particularly Cabernet Sauvignon - were ideally suited to Napa Valley and would consistently yield the best wines of the vintage. From 1977 on, Cabernet Sauvignon was never less than 50% of the Insignia blend and gradually became the dominant varietal. Joe’s vision evolved: Insignia would always be a proprietary red Bordeaux-style blend.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 99 Points
"Bottled in January 2019, the 2016 Insignia is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little reticent to begin, needing a fair bit of coaxing to reveal beautifully beguiling notions of wild blueberries, warm blackberries, black currant cordial, cloves and cedar chest with nuances of camphor, yeast extract, charcuterie and candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic elegance and depth, revealing loads of subtle floral, black fruit and earthy layers with a firm, very finely grained texture and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length. 13,400 cases were made."