Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Hours updated 1 month ago
“ This has always been my absolute favorite Winery, the wines just can't get any better especially the Insignia ! ” in 118 reviews
“ r. You are provided a walk-through mini tour of the winery before heading out to th e Terra ce for your tastin ” in 51 reviews
“ The cheapest club level is about $550 for the year w/o the Backus , around $750-$800 if you get the Backus. ” in 24 reviews
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200 Taplin Rd
Saint Helena, CA 94574
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Vivian H. said "We came here on a whim after a random recommendation by someone at a nearby table at another tasting. What a godsend. When we'd called ahead, they said they were booked for tastings but I guess near closing time they weren't that…" read more
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Marck N. said "After reading the reviews only after making my reservation online, I had hesitation of the tasting experience. As my party arrived 30 minutes early, I asked the host if they could seat us early. I didn't think it a problem as I saw…" read more
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Welcome to Joseph Phelps Vineyards! Following an extensive renovation of our original winery building on the hillside, we invite you to experience Joseph Phelps like never before. We currently offer outdoor Terrace Tastings and Culinary Experiences by prior appointment, with enhanced safety protocols in place. Please call the winery at 800-707-5789 to schedule a visit at our original Napa Valley winery. Please note: Due to the nature of our tastings and to ensure an intimate experience for all of our guests, we kindly request that all visitors be at least 21 years of age. We also kindly request that only certified service animals be allowed on property. No other pets at the vineyard, please. Thank you for understanding. …
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Bountiful tasting include gratuity?
Hello Ana, No it is not included, but gratuity is not expected from guests that participate in any of our tasting experiences… more
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Booking a wine tasting for two at Joseph Phelps Vineyards to celebrate my partner's birthday was an absolute hit, especially for a huge fan of Cabernet Sauvignon like myself! From the moment we stepped in, we were met with warmth and hospitality. Our host exuded friendliness, energy, and a wealth of knowledge that added an extra layer of enjoyment to our visit. The journey into the history of the vineyards and the captivating tale behind their remarkable wine, Insignia, was truly engaging. Learning about the roots of the winery while savoring their exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon was an experience we won't soon forget. Being a devoted Cabernet Sauvignon fan, I was elated by their selection. The 2019 Delice, Napa Valley, was a sensory masterpiece, offering fragrant gardenia, stone fruit, and delicate tropical notes. Layers of passion fruit, ripe peach, and guava danced on the palate, evoking memories of Canadian ice wine - prompting me to acquire a bottle for my collection. The outdoor setting allowed us to soak in the breathtaking vineyard views and relish the gentle breeze. We were pleasantly surprised to find cozy blankets thoughtfully provided at the seating areas, ensuring we stayed comfortable even if the weather turned a bit chilly. Our overall tasting experience was nothing short of great. The combination of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, a knowledgeable host, and the idyllic ambiance left us with smiles on our faces.
See all photos from Alice H. for Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Aug 25, 2023
Alice, thank you so much for that stunning review! I am thrilled you enjoyed our hospitality as well as our beautiful setting. Your description of the Delice is spot on--so glad you were able to enjoy one of our hidden gems. We look forward to hosting you during your next visit to the Napa Valley!
A visit to our wine club never disappoints. The beauty of this winery and the stellar wine is entirely an unforgettable experience. All of the employees are so very friendly, knowledgeable and assist as needed. We had some small bites with our wine tasting and they were excellent. This is definitely wine done right!
See all photos from Roger Z. for Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Aug 9, 2023
Thank you Roger! We are thrilled you enjoyed your Private Tasting. It's a great way to experience our wines and setting. Thank you for being a club member, and we hope to see you again soon!
Came to Joseph Phelps today on a complimentary tasting gifted by a friend and had the best time. Jordan, our sommelier was super kind and nice. He showed us to our area and poured all our wines. I enjoyed that he came to check on us frequently and took the time to memorize our names and talk to us. I ended up taking home a bottle of the 2021 Pinot Noir and 2019 dessert wine. I'm not a super "dry" wine girl so these plus the Chardonnay were my favorite of the tastings. Joseph Phelps is a beautiful winery with a stunning property and super kind staff. Do note that they allot about 90min for each party.
See all photos from Lauren Y. for Joseph Phelps Vineyards
May 30, 2023
Lauren, thank you so much for your review! I'm glad you were able to visit, and you enjoyed your time with Jordon, and the Delice :). I will definitely pass on your kind words to him. We hope to share another glass with you in the future!
We have been Joseph Phelps' member for over 5 years and this is one of our favorite wineries in Napa Valley! Love most of the wine including Chardonnay, Pinot, Cab and definitely Insignia. Tried the Vin du Mistral Red Blend this time, which is a typical GSM blend this time and it was good too! The last weekend in February was cold with the amazing snowy peak view from the terrace, which was a must-see rare view!
See all photos from Michelle H. for Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Mar 2, 2023
Thanks for being such a loyal member, Michelle, and for the lovely review! Glad to hear you enjoyed the Vin du Mistral. Hope to host you again soon!
*edited my review in response to management's comment* If your "handling it with grace" means lying to your customers on having a maximum 6oz per person policy, then I would never want to be on the receiving end of such grace. If you indeed have such policy, then share it here and make sure it has a management approval date prior to our event date. If you don't know how to handle the situation without lying to your customers or fausly accusing your customers for being intoxicated, then you should add that to your training. The way you handled the situation was disgraceful to say the least. I would give no star if possible. We went for food and wine pairing , which was $350 plus tax and tips (menu below). For that price range you have certain expectations but this place felt short in every way. Mediocre food and wine. We were also told they have a maximum 6oz wine per person policy so we were not able to revisit any wine. Never had that in any other winery before. Our party was 18 people and they only assigned us 1 host, which was clearly not sufficient.
Food and wine pairing menu
Jun 11, 2023
Hi Vicky, after speaking with my team, I understand that several people in your group were showing signs of intoxication. In concern for health and safety, we are unable to provide more alcohol to people who seem to be intoxicated. Your host attempted to handle this situation with grace, in order to not embarass the bride-to-be. However, several people responded with disrespect and rudeness, which does not encourage us to serve more alcohol. I am sorry you felt like the experience was disappointing.
$120 per person for a wine tasting. I am glad we didnt make a reservation and were told to come back in one hour.
Jan 8, 2024
Hello TM, thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry that a tasting didn't work out for you on this trip. I hope you are able to continue to enjoy Joseph Phelps wines from your local wine shop or restaurant back home.
Talk about impressive! The terrace view here has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the Napa valley! Just absolutely breathtaking!! The view alone is a reason to come here. Their wine is some of my favorite so that doesn't hurt either lol..
Apr 18, 2023
Thank you, Molly! We agree, it is a beautiful place to enjoy delicious wines. We hope to see you again soon!
This was the best wine tasting experience that we had while visiting Napa. Adrian Caldera led our private tasting and was incredibly knowledgeable about the vineyard and all that goes into wine making. He was also very personable. I would absolutely recommend this experience for anyone looking for education as well as an overall beautiful location. Don't miss out on this place OR this fabulous wine.
Oct 23, 2023
JR, thank you so much for this delightful review! We are thrilled to be at the top of your list for your Napa Valley experience. A private tasting is a wonderful way to gain an intimate knowledge of the history and wines of Joseph Phelps, and Adrian is a terrific host! I will be sure to pass on your kind words. We look forward to welcoming you back to JPV!
The service was terrible. The server refused to serve wine to one of the girls on my table just because she needed help to get off the car?! The server was accusing her of being intoxicated. My friend just came back from the Asia and still had jet lag, she was taking a nap in the car. After we arrived one of the girls was holding her hand while she was getting out of the car since she was not fully awake yet. Does that mean she was intoxicated? After my friend talked to their manager, they agreed to serve her wine since she didn't show any signs of intoxication. But we all lost our appetite, we stayed there only because we didn't want to ruin the day for the bride to be. Later they refused to provide wine revisits for our table while other people got 3 rounds of revisits. They explained it's California law, are they telling me the other two tables were not in California? I flew all the way from Portland to San Francisco just wanted to have fun with my friends, but they totally ruined it. On top of the bad service, we paid $350/ person not including tax and tips. Also, the food came in tiny portion with 1 oz wine for each pairing. If you need help to get out of the car stay away from this place. If you don't want to ruin your day, your vacation, damage your friendships stay away from this place.
This was our first stop on our vacation in Napa after it was recommended to us by a colleague. It was a wonderful experience from beginning to end! They go out of their way to ensure they know the names of your entire party in advance, which makes everything feel catered to you and intimate. Our host was Whitney and she was so great. It was the perfect balance of education on the wine, small talk, and giving us the space to sit and enjoy the wine and the views on our own. The property itself is gorgeous and the wines were all incredible.
See all photos from Becky T. for Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Jul 8, 2022
Thank you Becky for this kind and thoughtful review! We strive to provide the perfect balance of hospitality to each of our guests, and it seems like you had an ideal experience. Whitney is wonderful, and I will be sure to pass on your lovely words. We hope to see you again the next time you are in the Napa Valley!
11 other reviews that are not currently recommended
8.3 miles away from Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Eric J. said "Came here on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, as a couple of my friends are members of their wine club. The cool thing about the wine club is that it doesn't require a membership fee. All you really need to do is commit to buying a…" read more
in Wineries, Wine Tasting Room
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
9.5 miles away from Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Amy A. said "Ok I am giving it 5 stars because of their wines and the management staff. We had a tour scheduled for a specific time and we were told the tour started earlier. Needless to say we weren't happy we missed the tour, but Gary and Mel…" read more
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Wine Club Membership
Wine clubs are a great way to stay connected to your favorite wineries.
Phelps Preferred offers new releases, rare library wines and limited-production wines to our valued club members at a 20% discount. Phelps Preferred members have exclusive access to our Insignia Futures program and Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and many other Joseph Phelps Vineyards wines. Club members may choose one of four levels that include a mixture of white and red wines or reds only. We offer a variety of educational wine seminars, culinary experiences and tastings. Please visit our website for complete details.
To join our wine club, visit ', 'Winery Profile']);" target="_blank" rel="external noopener">www.josephphelps.com or call 707-963-2745.
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200 Taplin Road Saint Helena, CA 94574
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Welcome to Joseph Phelps Vineyards. We offer outdoor wine and tasting experiences Wednesday – Sunday by prior appointment with enhanced safety protocols. Please call the winery at 800-707-5789 or email a request to schedule. To provide a safe, relaxing, and intimate experience for our guests, all visitors must be at least 21 years of age. Infants and children are no longer permitted at the winery. Also, please note that only certified service animals are allowed on property. We cannot accommodate pets. Thank you for understanding.
Join us for an outdoor Bountiful Table wine and food experience.
A relaxed, outdoor seated Terrace Tasting featuring a selection of our current release wines, including Insignia.
We invite you to join us online for a virtual private tasting. Purchase one of our 3-bottle Tasting Packages and a senior Wine Educator will guide you through your tasting, give you insights into the growing season, and more. Virtual Private Tastings offered by prior appointment. Dates and times are limited. Please allow 60 minutes for this tasting experience. Visit our website to learn more and request a virtual tasting.
- Virtual tastings available
- Tasting fee
- Seated tasting available
- Outdoor tasting area
- Historical landmark
- Unique architecture
- Sustainable practices
Napa Neighbor Offer
10% discount on all purchases. A visit to Joseph Phelps Vineyards requires an appointment.
Offers listed are valid for all Napa Valley residents age 21 and over.
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The Napa Wine Project
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Review by Dave 1 Comment
Like a number of other vintners in the valley, Joseph came to wine from another industry. For nearly 20 years he ran and built one of the largest private construction companies based in the USA, Hensel Phelps Construction (still very much in operation and today an employee-owned company). The company was founded by Joe’s father Abe Hensel in Greeley Colorado in 1937 with an early focus on home building and remodeling. Over the decades contracts have become bigger and bigger and now they are involved in large scale commercial projects covering a wide variety of industries in both government and the private sector. Their corporate headquarters are still based in Greeley but now with 9 offices/branches located throughout the United States.
Joe joined his father at the company in 1952 and was the company president and general manager by 1957. One of Joe’s projects was to work on building the BART system in the San Jose Bay Area (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Other projects included building a launch pad for NASA and a protective exterior for the Pentagon post 9/11. During his time in the Bay Area, he would often visit the Napa Valley.
A banker informed him of several potential winery projects in Napa and Sonoma. One of the projects was to build Souverain Winery in the Napa Valley (now Rutherford Hill Winery). After this project Joseph became interested in purchasing his own property in the valley. He initially acquired about 15 acres on the corner of Zinfandel Lane and the Silverado Trail in 1972. In 1973 he acquired 600+ acres of land which at the time was a cattle ranch (no grapes were planted on site at that time). A clear remnant of this ranch is the metal cattle guard you cross when you first enter their driveway off of Taplin Road.
Joseph Phelps began planting grapes including varieties such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir among others. Long time wine enthusiasts of Joseph Phelps will remember early bottlings of Johannesburg Riesling. Their first vintage of this in 1973 was made from purchased fruit, from the Stanton Vineyard in Yountville. They ultimately discovered these grapes were not suited to the particular climate of this part of the valley and they changed over to other varieties – namely Bordeaux based red varieties. Initially their production was a majority white wines – over the years that changed and today they focus on wines produced from Bordeaux red varietals.
The first vintage of Joseph Phelps in 1973 was not made on site (the winery was not yet completed), rather it was made at Heitz Cellars located at the end of Taplin Road past the Phelps driveway. Pioneer, Walter Schug (founder of Schug Winery in neighboring Sonoma County) was hired and played an instrumental role in the early vintages of the Phelps’ wines and oversaw the planting of their first vineyards. Phelps has had only several wine makers in their history including Craig Williams. Despite only 50+ years since the winery was built, this era was the “early” days in Napa’s modern wine history when there were few physical wineries located in the valley. Joseph Phelps received Napa winery permit number 26.
After an impressive career both in construction and the wine business – Joseph Phelps passed away in April of 2015. Today his son Bill Phelps is President of the winery.
In late Spring 2015 the winery unveiled a new hospitality center located in what was the original winery building. This winery was built with high ceilings to house tall tanks – during the remodel the ceiling was lowered, a second floor was added for offices and hospitality was expanded from one private tasting room to seven private tasting rooms. Much of the focus of the remodel was tied to hospitality, elevating the tasting experience for visitors and making these visits more personalized.
The distinctive original redwood trellis outside the building has not changed, visitors still enter the hospitality center underneath the shade of this.
In addition, a large commercial kitchen was built – this was christened during Auction Napa Valley 2015. In mid 2017, the winery launched a culinary program featuring seasonal cuisine paired with current Phelps wines and some of their Sonoma Coast wines. Cuisine options vary from small bites to a full lunch. And in 2020, a 30,000 square foot barrel chai was built – expanding the footprint of their production facilities. Visitors can see this building to the west from outside at the visitor center. The actual winery is somewhat hidden behind the hill to the west – although one can see glimpses of these buildings if one knows where to look while driving by on the nearby Silverado Trail.
Joseph Phelps is known for providing excellent wine education seminars across a variety of topics ranging from vineyards, terroir, to the actual steps of how to smell and taste wine. In fact, this was the first Napa winery education seminar we went to – well before we began the Napa Wine Project. These are *highly* recommended for someone new to wine or wanting to further expand their knowledge of wine.
Groups are kept small and are held in their wine education room. Your “wine guide” will discuss a variety of topics relating to wine including how to properly taste, identify color, aromas and flavor with an overview of both Napa and Sonoma terroir and wine growing regions. Seminars also provide insights into how wines are made and are ideally suited to those who come prepared with plenty of questions.
One of the most popular seminar topics is the Insignia blending session in which you are given the components of what makes the final Insignia blend. You get to create your own blend and then compare how your blend tastes against the current vintage of Insignia.
Other seminars include Barrel Aging Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (exploring how types of barrels contribute to aging wine, Napa Valley Rocks (exploring the diversity of soils in Napa Valley), Wine Aroma Challenge , Single Vineyard (exploring how terroir contributes nuances to wine) and several limited tasting options including Wine & Cheese pairings, a Library Tasting and the rare Insignia Vertical Perspective Tasting.
All visits are strictly by reservation. The popular Terrace tasting experience includes a walk through and overview of the hospitality center and then weather permitting you are split into smaller groups for a highly personalized tasting outside on the terrace. During a recent visit, our wine educator asked us, “how do you like my office?”. With views like this, the group was silent, simply absorbing the expansive vistas – there was absolutely nothing to complain about.
Tastings will typically include 5 or 6 wines including several balanced white wines (Chardonnay and Viognier) and several Pinot Noir wines from their Sonoma County vineyards. At the end of our tasting during one of our visits, our wine educator asked, “how is everyone feeling” – the unanimous answer was “pretty awesome”!
Other tasting areas inside the hospitality center include the Backus, Insignia and Founder’s rooms along with a Great Hall centrally located inside. A library contains older vintages including a vertical of Insignia and their Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Oval Room (facing the vineyards) contains sizable wooden tanks which are merely for decoration – these were once used to ferment Riesling but now make good conversation pieces. This “tank” room also contains an impressive collection of empty bottles that line the walls. From the size of the collection and quality of the labels it appears the Phelps family and friends have enjoyed some remarkable wines over the decades (case in point are the 1927 Château Margaux and the 1959 Château Latour bottles)!
Select Wines Pinot Noir In the late 1990s Joseph Phelps began to look further afield with the intent to create wines in a Burgundian style (namely Chardonnay and Pinot Noir). This necessitated he locate property in a much cooler growing region. That turned out to be along the Sonoma Coast. In 1999 Joseph Phelps started developing 100 acres of vineyards in western Sonoma County. About 80% of the vines on this property are planted to Pinot Noir and 20% to Chardonnay (the Quarter Moon Vineyard and the Pastorale Vineyard). The winery used to see visitors at their small tasting room in Freestone but this closed in 2016. Their modern winery continues to produce the Freestone wines in the hills just north of Freestone – appropriately constructed by Hensel Phelps Construction company.
The Freestone name has an interesting name evolution, beginning with Napa Valley based vintner Rudy von Strasser. In the late 1990s he began a second label called Freestone, reflecting Rudy’s love of fishing. The name refers to a ‘freestone stream’ one that is seasonal generally fed by rain and snow melt. Rudy later sold the trademark right to this name to Joseph Phelps.
For many years Phelps focused on a much wider range of wines but beginning in the 1990s they focused their efforts on a handful of core products. Astute followers of the winery will know that they still produce a sub-brand called Innisfree focused on affordable ready-to-drink now Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2012 Joseph Phelps Quarter Moon Vineyard Pinot Noir shows an elegant nose with layered fruit, raspberry and cranberry – with some subtle notes of cedar. As the wine opens the bouquet becomes more elegant and reveals additional fruit complexities as well as chocolate cherry aromas. It shows a nice softness on the entry. The tannins are very well integrated with very good acidity – mouthwatering on the finish with a nice tartness that lingers.
The 2012 Joseph Phelps Pastoral Vineyard Pinot Noir offers an earthy and slightly dusty note on the bouquet with underlying notes of white pepper. The aromas are slightly more restrained than the 2012 Quarter Moon Vineyard Pinot Noir. It is a more robust wine with noticeable somewhat dusty tannins starting on the front of the palate and moving towards the rear and lingering softly.
During the early 1970s it was a challenge to find certain Bordeaux varieties as wineries were not making single varietal wines from varieties such as Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot or using these varieties to blend with as wineries do today. Phelps worked with several growers to source the fruit for these early Insignia wines. Putting out a notice to friends, family and employees to come up with a name, Joseph Phelps ultimately decided on the word Insignia himself – to signify a wine of excellence and superior quality.
This wine changes in percentages of varieties from year to year – somewhat dramatically at times. Tech sheets on site list information about each of these wines including varietal percentages dating back to the first vintage. The fruit for this wine comes from Phelps’ own vineyards in several of Napa Valley’s most well-known Cabernet Sauvignon producing districts including Stags Leap, Oakville, and Rutherford. Bottlings of Insignia should be in the cellar of serious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon enthusiasts and collectors.
The 2019 Joseph Phelps Insignia is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. This is the first ever vintage to include some grapes from the Phelps owned El Venadito Vineyard in Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll District. This wine is deep ruby and opaque in the glass; the bouquet is ripe fruited and reveals aromas of dark cherry, plum, hints of vanilla and mocha, a quick scent of jerky tack, and a lingering sweet tobacco spice. The fruit dominates this bottling both on the bouquet and the palate. This wine offers flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and boysenberry. Its texture is somewhat creamy with well-integrated, supple and rounded tannins. Their presence is distributed across the palate evenly and lingers with a light chewy sensation. Sometimes one assumes that flagship wines from iconic Napa Valley wineries will be crafted to be robust bottlings with a heavy grip of tannins. This wine is not one of those. It does however offer mouth filling richness without crossing into the territory of being opulent.
The 2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. This wine is dark ruby in the glass; initially it shows a pleasing slight herbal note on the bouquet which quickly disappears and does not reappear as this wine opens. Dark notes, tar, black fig and blackberry show on the layered bouquet. The palate boasts a richness of fruit along with plenty of tannins (not overly course in nature) which anchor a very long finish.
The 2008 Joseph Phelps Insignia is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 4% Merlot and was aged for 24 months in new French oak barrels. This wine is aging quite well (we tasted 7 years post vintage); the nose shows a sweetness of fruit with subtle notes of chocolate and baking spices. The palate is somewhat soft on entry, but quickly gains in complexity – voluptuous if you will. The palate is well layered with tannins similar to the 2011 vintage but slightly shorter in length. This is a delicious wine. With 2012 through 2014 being stellar growing years in Napa Valley collectors will want to look at the Insignia wines from these particular vintages. Club members can pre-order futures of Insignia before it is even bottled.
Don’t trust those Apple maps to find Joseph Phelps Winery!
Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is their most produced wine with production amounts dependent on the vintage. This is their only wine that sees both French and American oak during the aging and incorporates fruit from several of their own vineyards.
The 2021 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Merlot and 1% Malbec. This wine is deep ruby and opaque in the glass with an amaranthine rim; the bouquet is well-endowed with both opulent dark fruits and darker baking spices. These aromas include ripe blackberry, dark plum and black cherry along with notes of chocolate, coffee grinds, butterscotch, cloves, nutmeg, toast and charred wood. It is immediately gratifying from the instant this wine hits the palate for those who prefer their Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings supported by plenty of oak. This wine’s darker character somewhat mirrors it’s aromatics with flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and boysenberry complemented by union of chocolate, tobacco spice, coffee and a noticeable woodsy spice, all persisting for some time on the extended finish. The tannins are grainy and lightly gravelly.
The 2012 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is aromatically generous with both black and red fruit; the bouquet sports a definite sweet note with aromas of vanilla and underlying notes of toasted cedar. The tannins are chalky, dusty gripping and course in their youth – lingering on the sides and back of the palate for some time. We have since tasted newer vintages; this particular wine is always very approachable in its youth.
Eisrebe And a very unique wine is the Eisrebe, made from 100% varietal Scheurebe (grown on site) now bottled under the name Delice. This is a white variety that is a hybrid crossing of Sylvaner and Riesling developed in 1916 by Dr. George Scheu, a German botanist. We are aware of no other Napa Valley winery growing or producing wine from this variety and perhaps there are only several producers of this variety in the United States. In the spirit of Ice Wine, every year the grapes from these vines are harvested late in the year and then frozen at -5 degrees Fahrenheit, then partially thawed, pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks. This wine is always bottled as 375ml.
The 2018 Joseph Phelps Delice Scheurebe (100% varietal) is deep gold in color; the bouquet offers aromas of honey, ripe pear, apple and mango. One immediately notices the significant richness and sheer amount of flavor on the entry and then across the palate including apricot, peach, nectarine and freshly pressed apple. This wine offers ripe and rich flavors; on their own they would be perhaps linear, but these are complemented nicely with a brightness of acidity which keeps the palate lively and fresh. The finish is supple, long and intense. This wine is only 8% alcohol so one can drink more of this beautiful nectar without getting too tipsy.
Freestone Winery, Sonoma County This is production facility and does not see visitors.
Phelps has long been involved in charitable endeavors – one prominent donation was land for the nearby River Ranch Farm Worker Center which provides housing to seasonal workers.
In 2013 critic Robert Parker tasted through all vintages of Insignia and assigned each vintage a scored rating. Upon conducting this re-tasting he rated the 1974 much higher than his original score! (See video below).
And in 2018, the book The Best We Can Be: The Life and Wisdom of Joseph Phelps highlights the lives of Joseph Phelps and his children. Written by the Phelps family with Napa based author and publisher, Paul Chutkow. This is an educational and an inspirational book.
And a bit of local trivia – Joseph Phelps used to own the iconic Oakville Grocery in Oakville.
Phelps’s granddaughter, Kelsey Phelps continues the family tradition of producing wine. Her own brand is called Seppi, the name she used to call her grandfather (short for Giuseppe). Seppi focuses on producing sparkling wines.
Two electric vehicle charging stations are on site for Tesla vehicles to plug into. For more information about their unique tasting experiences please visit www.josephphelps.com
April 17, 2015 at 8:54 am
Sorry to see Joseph Phelps passed away a few days ago, one of Napa’s industry leaders and icons: http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/588212/napa-valley-leader-joseph-phelps-dies
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards | Napa Wine Tasting Review
Joseph Phelps Winery in Napa, Photo by Bruce Damonte
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is next on my series of day trips from Marin County . Just about every time I drive up to Napa I remark how lucky we are to have a world-class wine region just 45 minutes drive from Marin. I was excited to tour Joseph Phelps as I have been a big fan of their Insignia and Backus blends for quite some time.
Paul and Bonnie Edwards In The Tasting Room At Joseph Phelps Vineyards
We were invited as the guests of Paul and Bonnie Edwards of Marin Vineyards , long-time members of Joseph Phelps’ wine club. They shared many stories about the founding of Joseph Phelps and of the famous (or is that infamous?) wine club receptions the winery throws every year. Estate-grown wines include Insignia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. Additionally, they began producing estate-grown Syrah in 2012.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards produces world-class wines, with thirty-one of thirty-seven vintages rated 90 or more points by various wine publications, including three perfect 100 point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate .
Robert Parker on Joseph Phelps...
“Joseph Phelps was one of the great visionaries of Napa Valley. His legacy is one of extraordinary quality. He was one of the first to see the merit in blending, which his legendary Insignia, which first debuted in 1974, has proven year after year. It remains one of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blends. He also wasn’t content to just stay at home in Napa, but branched out with cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. Joe Phelps was a leader, and one of the greats of the wine world.” -Robert Parker
The Gorgeous Entrance Hall at Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Having recently completed a renovation of the original winery building which now serves as a collection of tasting rooms and also houses an impressive commercial kitchen, Joseph Phelps Vineyards provides a luxurious tasting experience that is reminiscent of a visit to a boutique hotel. The family commissioned Baldauf Catton Von Eckartsberg (BCV) Architects and Brandenburger Associates AIA to completely re-design and re-imagine the building, completing the project in late 2015. Regrettably, Joseph Phelps died just before completion.
Another Magnificent Space At Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Wine Educator Francoise Larum
Our “wine educator” for the morning was Françoise Larum, who impressed me with her knowledge and sense of humor. She seated us in one of the intimate tasting rooms which resemble luxurious dining rooms, and served us a flight of wines starting with a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, a 2013 Viognier, a 2012 Pinot Noir, their flagship 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, and stars of the morning and of the winery, the 2012 Insignia and the 2012 Cabernet Backus. All of the wines were delicious but the Insignia and Backus lived up to their world-renowned reputations.
If you are looking for a great winery in a beautiful setting, Joseph Phelps should be on your list. To schedule a visit, call +1-800-707-5789 or outside the USA dial +1-(707) 963-2745.
As always, as a top Marin real estate agent I am happy to help with any questions you might have about the luxury home market. Please call / text me at 415-847-5584 or complete the contact form at the bottom of this page.
A Tasting Room At Joseph Phelps
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Thanks for the article. My wife and I are planning a visit to Napa and will add this to our list.
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18 Premier Wineries With Excellent Food in Napa Valley
These go far beyond a bucket of breadsticks.
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More and more Napa Valley tasting rooms are upping the ante and serving their wines the way they were meant to be sipped: with food. These wineries are foregoing the obligatory cheese and charcuterie board for fun, creative, and satisfying experiences, prepared by some seriously talented chefs — many of whom come from the Michelin-starred fine dining scene. Ranging from small bites to multi-course meals to caviar dreams, you’ll never want to go back to simply bellying up to the tasting bar.
Brian Arden Wines
What do a Michelin-trained culinary team, more than century-old zinfandel vines, and a former-bio-major-turned-sommelier-and-now winemaker have in common? The Brian Arden Winery Chef Experience ($225). Chef Spencer Conaty brings what he learned at Morimoto, Atelier Crenn, and Saison to the wine-paired lunch, with the assistance of experienced sous chef Ben Martin. Wines are mostly reds and are often named for special moments in owners’ Brian Harlan and Amanda Lusk-Harlan’s lives.
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Quite the anomaly in Napa Valley, Brasswood is a small production winery with 17,000 square feet of caves, a restaurant, a bakery, and a bottle shop all in one. Tastings pair cabs with cheeses in the caves ($125), while the Sensory Tasting ($155) features seasonal bites and hand-blown glass globes to draw out the distinct aromas and characteristics of the wines. The Brasswood lunch pairing ($125) taps Brasswood Bar + Kitchen for four dishes paired with a flight of wines.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards
The 360-degree views from Joseph Phelps’ hidden terrace are almost as appetizing as the Bountiful Table experience ($350 per person, offered Wednesday to Monday at noon). Executive chef Tod Kawachi plans the five-course experience to match seven wines. The funny math there means that some courses offer two wines for comparison. To dive even deeper, the chef’s tasting menu involves nine courses ($450 per person, offered one select weekend a month at noon).
Long Meadow Ranch
Most people know the ranch by way of its restaurant, Farmstead. But the restaurant is only one piece of the Long Meadow Ranch collection. The Hall family runs an actual cattle ranch in Tomales Station and makes estate olive oil onsite at the Mountain Estate in St. Helena. The family also grows food on a 40-acre farm and 1-acre demonstration garden and produces bright low-alcohol wines. Those wines can be tasted alongside an elegant spread of seasonal bites made with produce from the family’s Rutherford Farm.
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Clif Family Winery
Clif Family Winery (yes, owned by the same people behind Clif Bar) is a wine tasting room and lunch spot in one, touting its own farm and Bruschetteria food truck. There are enough food and wine options to make your head spin. Available daily, the King of the Mountain experience ($85) pairs four Howell Mountain wines with four bites; the Estate Tasting experience ($125) pairs small-production wines with more involved dishes, or go for the Pasto e Vino experience ($195), intended as a complete lunch. Morning-themed tasting Rise and Wine ($65) offers a wine-paired brunch. If you want something more casual, you can order right from the food truck (Wednesday through Sunday) and opt for a patio tasting.
Napa Valley has a lot of great brunch spots , but Davies Vineyards in St. Helena is one of the few wineries that offers a brunch tasting, and it’s positively epic. The Wine & Caviar Brunch ($180, Friday to Sunday) is exactly as it sounds, pairing a full ounce of Regiis Ova caviar — plus potato chips, creme fraiche, eggs, and a handful of other breakfast bites, like tortilla Espanola and polenta cake — with glasses of Schramsberg’s renowned sparkling wine. Even dessert is considered, with cheesecake to satisfy the sweet tooth that no good brunch ignores.
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VGS Chateau Potelle Winery
The wines of legendary Jean-Noel Fourmeaux (who came to Napa in 1980 on a mission from the French government to spy on the Napa wine world, and never left) are not available in stores or restaurants so a visit for his Very Good Sh*t (actual acronym) is imperative. Though there’s no chef, food from chef Ken Frank (of Napa’s Michelin-starred La Toque) is available as part of the Signature VGS Wine and Food Tasting ($95) featuring six wines and elegant dishes.
Louis M. Martini Winery
The historic Louis M. Martini — it was one of the first wineries to open in Napa Valley after Prohibition — offers a diverse array of wine and food experiences. Led by executive chef Aaron Meneghelli, the Heritage Lounge Tasting ($125+) with optional food pairing offers five small-lot wines with five bites, such as pickled green strawberry, rabbit Wellington, and Nutella mille-feuille, while the Martini Park Tasting ($55) features a trio of wines and a cheese board. The two-hour Outdoor Cabana Tasting ($225, available seasonally, Thursday to Sunday) is perfect for a small group (10 people max) to lounge in the cabana for two hours while sipping wines and noshing on Italian dishes. Lastly, for $325 per person, head down to the 85-year-old underground cellar lined with giant redwood casks for a multi-course wine and food adventure.
Round Pond Estate Winery
From the culinary gardens to the working olive oil mill, Round Pond Estate products and estate-grown produce feature in the four-course Il Pranzo lunch ($225 per guest, Thursday to Sunday). Following a tour of the garden and olive grove, lunch and Round Pond wines are enjoyed al fresco on the winery terrace. The Artisan Tasting experience ($95) features a charcuterie plate with wine pairing.
The Oakville Trek ($125) starts with a tour of B Cellars’ garden and estate grounds (including a barrel tasting) and concludes with a seated wine and food pairing. Chef Derick Kuntz whips up small plates à la minute to pair with five wines, starting with whites paired with dishes like shrimp tostada and tuna crudo. The bites get progressively more substantial as the menu moves into the reds, like chicken brochette with macerated cherries and agrodolce, and two cabs paired with a beef slider on brioche. Also available for $125 is the Elevage, a customized wine tasting in the cave, paired with cheese and charcuterie.
At Cakebread, culinary offerings are varied. The team gets creative with whatever’s growing in the winery’s garden for the Perfect Pair ($100, offered Thursday to Monday), a tasting that matches four wines with bites like red flint corn polenta with burrata, chiles, and artichokes. Notably, Cakebread does offer a family-friendly wine tasting where children are welcome to listen to the tour guide while their parents drink.
Piazza Del Dotto Winery & Caves
The Delicacies experience at Piazza Del Dotto ($225, available Thursday to Saturdays) is like a scene right out of Under the Tuscan Sun . The atmosphere is casual, though the wine and food are anything but. Start with a barrel tasting of about five wines in the marble-lined cave. Then sit down for a bottled tasting of another five wines, along with four bites prepared by French Laundry–trained chef Joshua Schwartz. The array of dishes changes regularly, but expect premium dishes such as a Maine lobster panzanella paired with chardonnay; potato cappellini with classic Italian pork belly sugo paired with pinot noir; and a chocolate chip cookie parfait with espresso mouse and the Del Dotto Dolores, a fruit-forward dessert wine. It’s worth noting that this location is separate from the historic Del Dotto Winery and Caves on Atlas Peak Road, which is closed through at least May 2024.
Though Handwritten was founded more than a decade ago, its Yountville tasting room only opened in 2020 and winemaker Rob Lloyd’s experience is extensive. He worked for Cakebread, Stag’s Leap, and La Crema, before joining the Handwritten team. The Bread and Butter experience ($100) puts butter on the pedestal it deserves, with three types on offer — an Amish cow’s milk butter with sea salt, a goat and cow milk blend from Petaluma, and an all-goat milk version from Wisconsin — to taste alongside the wines — a sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, and three cabernets. With white truffle potato chips, bread from Bouchon Bakery, coppa salame, and P’tit Basque cheese, it’s like a savory afternoon tea time but with wine.
This famous sparkling house offers a variety of indoor and outdoor food and wine experiences. The Ultimate Culinary Journey ($155) involves a five-course tasting menu that changes seasonally and is meant to pair with Domaine’s wines, designed by chef Juan Cabrera. The current menu pairs toybox melon and yuzu with Mt. Veeder Brut; striped bass crudo and black garlic with the Etoile Brut; and dry-aged duck breast with peaches, figs, and a reserve meunier. The Togetherness Lunch ($135) pairs a family-style lunch with three sparkling wines.
Located on Napa’s Silverado Trail, Darioush welcomes visitors with estate pistachios, roasted with sea salt and citrus zest, customary when welcoming guests into a Persian home —quite logical, as the winery is also the residence of owners Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi. Culinary offerings are taken seriously here with a signature mezze ($90) featuring a flight of wines and classic bites like hummus and pickled cucumbers. A wine and artisan cheese pairing ($100) includes a walking tour of the winery, as does the educational “sensory sessions” experience ($140) featuring estate olive oil, wine, and nibbles. The indulgent By Invitation Only gives an exclusive experience ($200) that includes a chance to taste the winery’s “crown jewel” cabernet, the Darius II, in a gorgeous etched bottle, plus limited releases, with deftly executed pairings like corn prepared four ways (agnolotti, pudding, tortilla and sauce of the husk), carrots, and beets and mesquite grilled rib cap with cherry sauce.
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Trefethen family vineyards.
Trefethen proprietor Janet Trefethen played a major role in kickstarting Napa Valley’s world-class culinary industry in the 1970s when she founded the Napa Valley Cooking School and brought in top chefs from all over the world, including Thomas Keller, so it’s natural that the tradition continues via food and wine experiences . Taste the Estate ($125) pairs five completely different wines with plates like wild mushroom mousse with toasted brioche, sous vide beef short rib, and cheese arancini with preserved red peppers.
Ashes & Diamonds Winery
Have you ever had a very cool friend who owns an amazing mid-century modern house on the cliffs of Malibu? Yeah, neither have we. But a visit to Ashes & Diamonds is what we imagine that must feel like. The food-friendly, lower alcohol wines express the 1960s style of Napa Valley winemaking, natural for pairing with all manner of exceptional, deceptively casual foods by chef Ethan Speizer. While several wine tastings include cheeses or other small bites, the wine-and-food experience ($175) is the most substantial and features five wines with family-style dishes, including a recent beet preparation that nods at the classic Jewish bagel and schmear. The wines and menu both change seasonally.
Robert Mondavi Arch & Tower
Fans of Mondavi Winery have a bit to wait until the revamp of its tasting room is complete, but the winery moved into (temporary) new digs in downtown Napa as Arch & Tower, with views of the Napa River and the Third Street bridge. There’s a new bites menu from Mondavi culinary director Jeff Mosher, who consulted with accomplished, James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd, but hungrier and more spendthrift folks can splurge on the Legend Lunch ($165), which comes with a wine tasting and three paired food courses that change with the season and is made from locally-sourced produce.
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Why Joseph Phelps Insignia is the Ultimate Wine Experience You Can’t Afford to Miss
Are you a wine enthusiast looking to indulge in a one-of-a-kind wine experience? Look no further than Joseph Phelps Insignia , the iconic wine produced by Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the heart of Napa Valley, California.
Made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and other Bordeaux varietals, this rich, full-bodied red wine has earned its reputation as one of the best wines in the world.
The Story of Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Founded in 1973 by Joe Phelps, the former 670-acre cattle ranch, now a winery property, has been producing exceptional wines from its estate vineyards for almost 50 years. The winery sources grapes from several different locations, including Oak Knoll District, South Napa Valley , and Stags Leap District, all located within Napa Valley.
The winery’s focus on producing small batches of complex, elegant wines has made it one of the most respected in the industry.
In June 2022, luxury giant Moët Hennessy purchased the portfolio of Joseph Phelps, which includes the Insignia brand, and 530 acres of vineyards.
The Making of Joseph Phelps Insignia
Joseph Phelps Insignia is a highly complex wine, made from a blend of different grape varieties grown in the estate vineyards of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, located in Napa Valley, California. The primary grape variety used in the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon , which accounts for the majority of the wine’s character and structure. The Petit Verdot adds depth and complexity to the wine, while the Cabernet Franc contributes to its elegance and finesse.
After the grapes are harvested, they undergo a meticulous fermentation process, where they are carefully macerated to extract the maximum amount of flavor and tannins. Once the wine is fermented, it is aged in new French oak barrels for 24 months. This process adds a beautiful creamy texture and vanilla notes to the wine, which complement its dark fruit flavors and beautifully perfumed floral aromatics.
The result is a wine that is beautifully perfumed with floral and cigar box aromatics, layered with notes of dark fruit, spice, and subtle oak. The wine’s tannins are chalky and firm, providing structure and a long, lingering finish. As the wine ages, it develops even more complexity, with flavors of leather, tobacco, and dried herbs emerging.
Joseph Phelps Insignia is a wine that is meant to be savored and enjoyed over time, as its complexity and elegance continue to evolve in the bottle. It is an iconic wine that represents the best of Napa Valley winemaking, and it is a testament to the skill and dedication of the winemakers at Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
Tasting Notes: What Makes Joseph Phelps Insignia So Special?
Joseph Phelps Insignia is a full-bodied red wine with a deep ruby color and intense aromas of dark chocolate, lead pencil shavings, and crushed rock.
On the palate, it reveals rich red fruit flavors, hints of dried herb, and spicy notes that add complexity to the wine. The tannins are firm but well integrated, and the wine finishes with a long, satisfying finish.
Food Pairing Suggestions
The Joseph Phelps Insignia is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of foods. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
– Grilled steak
– Roasted lamb
– Braised beef short ribs
– Mushroom risotto
– Chocolate cake
– Lamb chops with mint jelly
– Roast beef with horseradish cream sauce
– Grilled salmon with lemon butter sauce
Awards and Accolades
Over the years, Joseph Phelps Insignia has received numerous awards and accolades, cementing its reputation as one of the best wines in the world. Wine critics and industry experts from all over the world have recognized the wine’s exceptional quality, complexity, and aging potential.
In particular, Wine Spectator, one of the most respected wine publications in the world, has consistently awarded Joseph Phelps Insignia with an average rating value of 95 points or higher. This is an impressive achievement that reflects the wine’s consistently high quality and exceptional character.
In addition to its high ratings, Joseph Phelps Insignia has also been named “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator in 2002, a prestigious award that recognizes the best wine of the year. This recognition is a testament to the exceptional quality of the wine and the winery’s dedication to excellence in winemaking.
Other industry experts have also recognized the quality of Joseph Phelps Insignia, including Robert Parker and James Suckling. They have consistently given the wine high ratings and praised its complex flavors, elegance, and balance.
All of these awards and accolades are a testament to the exceptional quality of Joseph Phelps Insignia. It is a wine that truly stands out among the best wines in the world, and it is no wonder that it has become a favorite among wine collectors and enthusiasts alike.
Why You Can’t Afford to Miss Joseph Phelps Insignia
The Joseph Phelps Insignia is truly a work of art. The wine is made using traditional methods and is aged for a minimum of 24 months in new French oak barrels. This allows the wine to develop its complex flavor profile.
The result is a wine that is full-bodied and well-balanced. The chalky tannins and flavors of dark fruits, chocolate, cherry, and spice are perfectly integrated with the smooth texture of the wine . With its impressive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and other Bordeaux varietals, Joseph Phelps Insignia is the ultimate wine experience you can’t afford to miss.
Its complex flavor profile, beautiful aroma, and long-lasting finish make it one of the best wines you can taste. If you are a wine lover or just looking to try one of the best wines in the world, Joseph Phelps Insignia is a must-try.
Joseph Phelps Insignia can be found in many stores across the USA where you buy wine, and it is available to buy online through the winery’s website or at several online wine stores.
The price of the wine varies depending on the vintage, location, and availability but you can expect to pay between $250 – $325 per bottle or more. You can find the latest information on the wine’s availability and price by visiting the winery’s website or checking with local stores.
The Joseph Phelps Portfolio
In addition to Joseph Phelps Insignia, Joseph Phelps Vineyards produces a range of high-quality wines. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are both known for their bright, crisp flavors and refreshing acidity. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are rich and complex, with notes of dark fruit and spice that develop over time. These wines, like Joseph Phelps Insignia, are made from grapes grown in the estate vineyards of Napa Valley, using sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a must-visit destination for wine lovers. The winery’s beautiful estate, with its stunning views of the valley and vineyards, is a serene and peaceful place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine. Visitors can take a tour of the vineyards and winery, learn about the winemaking process, and taste the wines in the tasting room.
Joseph Phelps Vineyards’ dedication to excellence is evident in every aspect of their wine production, from the careful selection of the best vineyard sites to the meticulous winemaking process. They are committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, ensuring that the land and the environment are protected for future generations.
With its stunning location, dedication to excellence, and range of exceptional wines, Joseph Phelps Vineyards is truly a Napa Valley gem. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or just starting your wine journey, a visit to Joseph Phelps Vineyards is an experience not to be missed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best year for joseph phelps insignia.
Some critics believe that the best vintage of Insignia is the 2002 vintage that was scored 100 points by Robert Parker Wine Advocate and won Wine Spectator’s Wine of the year.
Who owns Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley?
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is now owned by Moët Hennessy who purchased the property in June 2022.
Where is Joseph Phelps from?
Joe Phelps was born in Maysville, MO, and moved to Greeley Colorado as a child.
What year did Insignia win Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year Title?
The 2002 vintage was awarded Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year in 2005.
Which vintages of Insignia scored over 100 points?
Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded four perfect 100-point scores to 1991, 1997, 2002, and 2007 vintages.
Joseph Phelps Insignia is one of the most iconic wines produced by Joseph Phelps Vineyards, located in Napa Valley, California. The wine’s complex flavor profile, beautiful aroma, and long-lasting finish have earned it a reputation as one of the best wines in the world.
With its impressive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and other Bordeaux varietals, Joseph Phelps Insignia is the ultimate wine experience that you cannot afford to miss.
Try it for yourself and indulge in the rich red fruit flavors, spicy notes, and well-integrated tannins that make Joseph Phelps Insignia an unforgettable wine experience.
Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or just starting your wine journey, this iconic wine is a must-try. So why wait? Head to your local wine store or order a bottle online today and discover why Joseph Phelps Insignia is one of the best wines out there.
My Take on Joseph Phelps Insignia
I have had the pleasure of drinking the Joseph Phelps Insignia on several occasions and it never fails to impress. This is truly a remarkable wine that offers an exceptional flavor profile. If you’re looking for a special occasion wine, the Joseph Phelps Insignia should be at the top of your list.
It’s sure to please even the most discerning palates. And with our food pairing suggestions, you’ll be able to make the most of your experience with this iconic wine. Cheers!
About the Author
Wesley is a wine enthusiast and host of the Obsessed with Wine Podcast available anywhere you get your podcasts.
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