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Founded in 1972, the Joseph Phelps Winery and home vineyards of Joseph Phelps are located in Spring Valley near St. Helena, on a 600-acre ranch that is characterized by rolling hills, California native oaks, and 160 acres of meticulously tended vines. The first Phelps wine, 1973 Johannisberg Riesling, was introduced in the fall of 1974. Since then, production has grown to 100,000 cases annually, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot serving as the winery's core varietals. The Phelps portfolio also includes — in years when weather conditions permit — luscious dessert wines made from Johannisberg Riesling Scheurebe, Semillon and Muscat. Long known for his innovative spirit and passion for quality, Joe Phelps pioneered a number of 'firsts' in the early years of the winery. The 1974 Phelps Insignia — released in the spring of 1978 — was the first Bordeaux-style blend produced in California under a proprietary label. The release of the 1974 Syrah in 1977 sparked industry-wide interest in a remarkable French varietal whose plantings in California had disappeared and been virtually forgotten for over half a century. And in 1990, after years of research, a whole new family of Rhone-style wines was introduced under the Vin du Mistral label and included Syrah, Viognier, Grenache Rosé, and a delicious red wine blend called Le Mistral.
Fine Wine Merchant, the Saratoga Wine Exchange, has many Joseph Phelps Wines in stock.
With complex aromas of black cherry, plum, chocolate, currant and toasty oak, the wine displays layers of flavor and richness that disguise its power and longevity. Beautifully crafted and balanced, Insignia reflects a new level of quality from both the vineyards and the growing regions. The 2000 Insignia is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. It reveals a smoky, rich cassis characteristic, medium to full body, and an open-knit, lush, generous style without the austere tannin and backwardness of the 1999. This expansive, fleshy, and seductive offering should drink well for 15-16 years.
Our cool-climate vineyards in Carneros and Yountville weathered the temperature extremes well, producing profoundly extracted fruit with near-ideal sugar/acid levels. The resulting wine contains crisp, forward flavors of pear, citrus and tropical fruit, hints of vanilla and toasty oak, and a smooth, balanced finish.
This is a full-bodied red wine with aromas of red fruits, dried flowers and spices followed by jammy, ripe berry flavors, soft, sweet tannins and multilayers of complex fruit. Cool temperatures characterized much of the 1999 growing season, but the absence of rain and a warming trend in mid-July insured the grapes would properly mature. While picking was two to three weeks behind normal and crop yields were down from the previous year, the harvest nevertheless yielded highly extractive fruit with good color, flavor and acid levels. 34% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 13% Mourvèdre, 11% Alicante Bouschet, 4% Petite Sirah, 4% Carignane.
Ovation is our flagship Chardonnay - a blend of grapes displaying the highest aroma and flavor profiles from cool-climate vineyards that have been established using small-cluster clones of Chardonnay. Crop yields are low and flavors tend to be extraordinarily rich and concentrated.
Absolutely delicious Sauvignon Blanc, with bright passion fruit and grapefruit flavors and aromas. One of the most consistently successful varietals at Phelps has been Sauvignon Blanc, planted in a warm pocket on the lower slopes of our ranch where it receives 12 hours of sunlight per day. These growing conditions promote exceptional ripening, and the result is a classic Sauvignon Blanc. Floral, spicy/fruity aromas; citrus (grapefruit) and melon-like flavors; a slight grassy component and excellent acidity all contribute to a crisp, lively-tasting wine that is especially compatible with seafood and poultry dishes.
Ripe and concentrated with plenty of color and spicy, red fruit aromas, this wine is distinguished by its core of berry flavors and harmonious balance. This vintage, while showy and drinkable now, will provide enjoyment for years to come.
Concentrated ripe sweet fruit is complemented by roasted red and black fruit flavors and a smoky oak component. This powerful wine will continue to evolve for many years. A dense, layered wine, marked by pure cassis flavors. Picks up intensity in the middle palate, where it turns rich and compelling. Harmony and elegance, not to mention ageability, mark this expression of Cabernet.
With complex aromas of black cherry, plum, chocolate, currant and toasty oak, the wine displays layers of flavor and richness that disguise its power and longevity. Beautifully crafted and balanced, the 1997 Insignia reflects a new level of quality from both the vineyards and the growing regions.