Joseph Phelps was family owned winery established in 1973 which is specialized in producing estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. Additionally, estate-grown Syrah was produced from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in 2012. The Joseph Phelps winery was completed in 1974 in time for harvest, crushing grapes for the first Insignia and the first Syrah bottlings. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking. It put Joe Phelps and his Joseph Phelps Vineyards on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.
Four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Thirty-two of thirty-eight vintages have been rated 90 or more points by various wine publications, including three perfect 100 point scores for the 1991, 1997 and 2002 vintages from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in Mr. Parker’s Historical Tasting of Insignia report, published November 2013. The 2002 vintage of Insignia was also awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005.
2011 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown, the 2011 growing season began normally with bud break occurring at the end of March. However, due to cool weather, bloom completed two to three weeks later than normal. By mid-June, preparations were underway for the unusually cool growing season. Vines were forced into competition for water by leaving cover crop untilled, delayed irrigation and cluster thinning. An eleven-day warming trend in mid-September helped push grape maturation. Despite mid-season rain and cool weather in 2011, blends were carefully selected and the wines are fresh, will be long lived, and no doubt continue to evolve and develop.
Grapes were hand-picked at an average of 24.6º Brix and hand-sorted before a cold soak and stainless steel fermentation. The wine was aged for eighteen months in 52% new oak barrels (58% French, 42% American) and 48% one- to two-year-old French and American oak barrels before bottling in July, 2013. The barrel coopers used included Ermitage, François Frères, Taransaud, Demptos (French and American), Nadalié (French and American), Canton (American) and Barrel Associates (American). And the result is aromatics of plum, cherry, currants, coffee, cocoa and hints of allspice, fresh thyme, tobacco and forest floor. The body is laced with integrated tannins, great freshness and red fruit characteristics.