Layers of ripe cassis and blackberry fruit on this wine's nose and palate are underscored by impressions of spice, clove and anise, with a lush, plummy fruit generosity supported by firm, well structured tannins.
Wine Advocate 87 points - The Bordeaux varietals include a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, which comes primarily from estate vineyards. There are generally 15,000 to 30,000 cases produced depending on the vintage, and the tiny 2011 crop produced 15,000 cases whereas the large, ripe 2012 crop resulted in nearly 30,000. The 2011 is an attractive, well-made effort for the vintage displaying notions of roasted herbs, red and black currants, loamy soil and plenty of fruit in a medium-bodied, sensual, silky style. Drink it over the next decade. (Oct 2013)
Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon displays deep color, dense, extractive flavors and finely balanced sugar to acid levels. The finished wine is soft yet well-structured, with lush ripe flavors of cedar and cassis.
|Wine maker notes
|Though it takes a Cabernet Sauvignon designation, Phelps' Cabernet is typically blended with small percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and/or Malbec for enhanced complexity. Grapes are harvested and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks in contact with the skins, and aged an average of sixteen months in a combination of roughly 50% new French and American oak barrels and two- to four-year-old French and American oak barrels before being blended, lightly filtered and bottled.
|In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.
Nearly four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Twenty nine of 34 vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oakville.