97 points

Joseph Phelps 2010 Insignia Estate Grown Red (Napa Valley)

This is, as always, a gorgeous wine, rich, balanced and delicious. It shows classic Napa Valley ripeness, with blackberry jam, plum, dark chocolate and sweet oak flavors. Plush and velvety doesn’t begin to do it justice. Despite its fabulous lushness, this is a wine to age. Depending on your taste, it will provide…

 — S.H.   Published 12/31/2013
  • Cellar Selection
97 points

Joseph Phelps 2005 Backus Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)

Price be damned, this is an authentically gorgeous, important Cabernet Sauvignon. It calls to mind the amazing 2001, with its huge, perfect tannins and acids and artistic appliqué of new oak. But the star of the show surely is the fruit. Mounds of ripe blackberries and cherries pile up, veering into currants and…

 — S.H.   Published 5/1/2009
97 points

Joseph Phelps 2004 Insignia Red (Napa Valley)

Tasted in October, 2007, the wine was mute, offering little aromatically except for teasing notes of blackberries and oak. That shyness extended to the taste, where strong, hard tannins provide an almost impenetrable coat of armor to what’s inside. But right down the middle of the palate is a deep, intensely…

 — S.H.   Published 2/1/2008
  • Cellar Selection
97 points

Joseph Phelps 2001 Backus Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)

Tasted alongside a bevy of Oakville Cabs, this beauty was the star of the show. It’s a huge, masculine wine, authoritative and ageable. Pours dark and drinks tannic and oaky, with a massive core of cassis, cherry and chocolate fruit encased in perfect tannins. What grace and power, what balance. Drink now through…

 — S.H.   Published 11/1/2005
  • Cellar Selection
96 points

Joseph Phelps 2009 Insignia Estate Grown Red (Napa Valley)

This wine continues a long-standing tradition, showing a mastery of the art of blending. It’s made using grapes that are sourced from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right out of the bottle, it’s a soft, smoothly tannic wine that’s rich in blackberry jam, black currant, blueberry…

 — S.H.   Published 12/31/2012
96 points

Joseph Phelps 2003 Insignia Red (Napa Valley)

One of the first, if not the first, of the proprietarily named Napa Bordeaux blends, Phelps Insignia has been one of California’s greatest Cabs for decades. This is their 30th anniversary bottling, and it’s worthy of the tradition. Ultrarich and smooth, with a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet, it’s fairly thick in…

 — S.H.   Published 3/1/2007
  • Cellar Selection
96 points

Joseph Phelps 2010 Pastorale Vineyard Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

Undoubtedly the greatest Chardonnay the winery has ever produced, this is as rich as any Chardonnay on the market. Notes of tropical fruit, green apple and crème brûlée mesh with vibrant minerality that’s steely, chalky and tangy. Although it tastes of honey, the finish is completely dry. This might even develop…

 — S.H.   Published 10/1/2012
96 points

Joseph Phelps 2001 Insignia Red (Napa Valley)

A triumph. Aged nearly two years in all-new French oak, this massive wine stuns with its superb balance. Manages the elusive challenge of reining in hugely ripe black currant, cherry and oak flavors and sweet tannins while keeping the palate impression soft and alluring, almost feminine. Just gorgeous right out of…

 — S.H.   Published 10/1/2004