Joseph Phelps

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97
points

Joseph Phelps 2010 Insignia Estate Grown Red (Napa Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $225

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 excellence from now until 2030.

 — S.H.  (12/31/2013)
97
points

Joseph Phelps 2005 Backus Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)

  1. $225

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 cassis and something wild and decadently animal, like…

 — S.H.  (5/1/2009)
97
points

Joseph Phelps 2004 Insignia Red (Napa Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $200

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 powerful stream of perfectly ripened cassis that’s all…

 — S.H.  (2/1/2008)
97
points

Joseph Phelps 2001 Backus Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $150

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 2016, at least.

 — S.H.  (11/1/2005)
96
points

Joseph Phelps 2009 Insignia Estate Grown Red (Napa Valley)

  1. $200

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, raspberry, dark chocolate and spice flavors. The wine…

 — S.H.  (12/31/2012)
96
points

Joseph Phelps 2011 Insignia Estate Grown Red (Napa Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $225

Impeccable elegance characterizes this vintage of the producer’s marquee Bordeaux-style blend, an expert finessing of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Juicy in exotic black fruit, it stands tall, with silky, towering shoulders of herb, cardamom and clove that will coalesce beautifully over time. Hold through 2026.

 — V.B.  (5/1/2015)
96
points

Joseph Phelps 2003 Insignia Red (Napa Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $165

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 tannins now, suggesting cellaring. But it’s huge in…

 — S.H.  (3/1/2007)
96
points

Joseph Phelps 2010 Pastorale Vineyard Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

  1. $75

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 earthy, nutty complexities as it ages.

 — S.H.  (10/1/2012)
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