Joseph Phelps Insignia (3 Liter) 1999
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The Insignia from this growing season is a deep, black cherry red color, with aromas of roasted black fruit, licorice, cedar and spice. The tannins are rich and full in flavor and texture to give this wine incredible depth and length in the finish.
International Wine Cellar - "(tasted just off the bottling line; a blend of 71% cabernet sauvignon, 21% cabernet franc, 6% merlot and 1% each petit verdot and malbec) Deep ruby. Roasted aromas of currant, black cherry syrup, licorice and grilled nuts. Powerful but smooth and sweet, with superb, extremely unevolved dark berry flavors and a strong mineral note of graphite. Excellent acidity contributes to the impression of intensity. Very long, mounting finish features firm tannins and lively dark berry flavors. This bottling has been consistently superb in recent years, even in the difficult 1998 vintage."
Wine Spectator - "Complex, with mature herb, dried currant, fresh earth and sage flavors that are focused and concentrated, gaining depth and complexity from midpalate on and then firming up and ending with chewy tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec."
The Wine Advocate - "There are 15,000 cases of the 1999 Insignia, a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. The core of this offering tends to come from Rutherford-grown fruit. The saturated dense purple-colored 1999 offers a tight but promising nose of incense, spice box, black fruits, and vanilla. This elegant, stylish, and medium to full-bodied offering is made in a more French-like, finesse style than such blockbusters as 1997, 1996, 1995, and 1994."
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.