Joseph Phelps Insignia 1993
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Black/purple wine with complex flavors and smooth tannins. After blending and aging, this is proving to be one of the biggest Insignias produced in some time, with deep, pure varietal aromas and remarkable depth of flavor. We can identify black cherry, black currants, spice and a touch of oak. Additional bottle aging will develop these flavors even further.
The Wine Advocate - "As I reported last year, the 1993 Insignia is one of northern California's most impressive wines. While this vintage seems to suffer from a slight degree of irregularity, there is no shortage of profound Cabernets. For example, the 1993 Insignia possesses a dense, almost opaque ruby/purple color, as well as a huge, sweet nose of blackcurrants, fruitcake, spice, and vanilla. This classic, rich wine, with a sweet, ripe mid-palate, displays a full-bodied, layered, super-concentrated personality. Although still a baby in terms of development, it is remarkably successful because of the ripe tannin, high glycerin, and intensity of fruit. It will easily last for two decades, although I suspect most of it will be consumed within 7-10 hours of purchase. When speaking of great red wines, what about the succession of exceptional Insignias Phelps has produced since 1991? How much fun well-heeled collectors will have comparing the 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995, and probably the 1996, in 10-20 years. The early line on these wines is spectacular, as all of them possess outstanding potential. The 1993 and 1994 Insignias appear to have an edge on the 1995, but I imagine the 1995 will perform more strongly with another 6-12 months of barrel age."
Wine Spectator - "A dense, compact, earthy style that definitely needs decanting, with firm, chalky tannins wrapped around a core of earth, tar, leather, mulch and currant. Finishes with mineral and earth flavors that start to grow on you."
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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.