2003 Phelps, Joseph Insignia Proprietary Red Wine
Proprietary Blend - 1.5L

  • ST 92
  • WA 91
  • WS 90

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ST 92
Stephen Tanzer - Antonio Galloni's Vinous, April 2016
92+ Saturated bright ruby-red. Aromas of currant, black cherry, graphite, licorice, sweet butter and bergamot, accented by dried herbs. Juicy, spicy and still a bit youthfully tight but with lovely sweetness to its... 92+ Saturated bright ruby-red. Aromas of currant, black cherry, graphite, licorice, sweet butter and bergamot, accented by dried herbs. Juicy, spicy and still a bit youthfully tight but with lovely sweetness to its flavors of black cherry, licorice and flowers. Finishes with big tannins supported by the wine's depth. Less viscous than the 2002. This wine has always been tight but may be starting to turn the corner. Phelps stopped doing pad filtration in 2003 after getting rid of the brettanomyces in the winery (they started washing their barrels with ozonated water in 1999). Many vintages since then have been bottled unfiltered, noted winemaker Hepworth, adding that "we've never really employed fining, even in high-tannin years like 2013. We don't like what it does to mouthfeel."
WA 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, December 2005
The light pedestrian 2003 Insignia (84% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Petit Verdot and the rest equal parts Malbec and Merlot) while outstanding is not one of the most inspirational examples of this proprietary blend... The light pedestrian 2003 Insignia (84% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Petit Verdot and the rest equal parts Malbec and Merlot) while outstanding is not one of the most inspirational examples of this proprietary blend. Medium-bodied with an evolved sweet nose of chocolate black currants plums and toasty new oak this rich ripe well-balanced 2003 does not possess the persistence or depth of the 2002 or 2001. Drink the 2003 over the next 10-15 years.
WS 90
Wine Spectator - Wine Spectator, October 2006
Supple polished and harmonious though not in the class of the 2002. Nonetheless delivers a complex range of rich currant berry and cherry fruit cedary oak hints of anise and sage and a persistent lingering finish. Mildly... Supple polished and harmonious though not in the class of the 2002. Nonetheless delivers a complex range of rich currant berry and cherry fruit cedary oak hints of anise and sage and a persistent lingering finish. Mildly tannic. Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Malbec and Merlot. Drink now through 2011. 12000 cases made.
Color & Type Red
Varietal Proprietary Blend
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Appellation Napa
Vintage 2003

Label

First produced from the iconic 1974 vintage, Phelps Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, initially from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Grapes from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards go into Insignia: Spring Valley Home Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley.

Winery

Phelps, Joseph

In the late 1960’s, Joseph Phelps, a successful construction company owner from Colorado, came to the Napa Valley to build a winery for Souverain (now Rutherford Hill). Like many others, he fell in love with the region and the industry and in 1974, he completed construction on his own eponymously named Joseph Phelps Winery, just in time to harvest the first vintages of Syrah and Insignia. Four decades later, Phelps Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s great and most highly-rated wines.

Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Since 2004, all Phelps wines are made from estate-grown fruit, including Phelps Insignia, the estate labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, the Oakville single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Backus’, Eisrebe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape, and Syrah from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard.

Joe Phelps also had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. He found the ideal spot for the perfect combination of climate, soil and location in Freestone, in the Sonoma Coast AVA. In 1999, he began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone and in 2005, construction began on a new winery. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name under the Freestone label.