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 Vintage1976 Label 1 of 148 
ProducerJoseph Phelps (web)
VarietyRed Bordeaux Blend
SubRegionNapa Valley
AppellationNapa Valley

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2009 and 2011 (based on 1 user opinion)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Joseph Phelps Insignia on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 93.1 pts. and median of 93 pts. in 10 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by davergny on 8/3/2013 & rated 96 points: This is some wine! 94% Eisele cabernet, 6% merlot. Very aromatic nose of sweet currants and mocha. Big, tannic wine, has has an elegance to it as well. Ripe cabernet fruit dominates the palate, with some leather and earthy notes. Tannic and a slight musty taste on the back end, but the mouth watering finish goes on and on. Amazing wine, at 37 years old, that will last many more years. (2169 views)
 Tasted by danielk168 on 12/11/2012 & rated 97 points: Even better than the last bottle, color is youthful as ever and surely this can last 10 more years. Only one glass this time and took 3 hours to enjoy it. When tasted blind, one friend thought it was a 10 year Bordeaux! (2715 views)
 Tasted by danielk168 on 2/22/2012 & rated 95 points: This is one ofseven bottles from Zachys auction. Incredible nose followed by explosive sensation inthe mouth. Hard to believe it is36 years old. (3589 views)
 Tasted by tooch on 10/25/2011 & rated 93 points: D.C. Dinner for Greg Golec (Toscana Cafe - DC): Mature nose of leaves, cedar, pipe tobacco and leather. The fruit was mostly hidden behind these tertiary tones, but was more evident on the palate. i thought this was particularly elegant with cranberry, violets, forest floor, and cedar tones on the palate. An iconic American producer nails this bicentennial cuvee. (4108 views)
 Tasted by TheEngineer on 1/1/2011 & rated 93 points: A friend opened this thing amongst the others and it was a treat. The wine not only was alive but kicking and we had to decant it to open it up. It stuck around for the entire 4 hour dinner, improving along the way. Super nose, obviously older wine but did not feel that old. Color was still garnet, some fruit remains but the second and tertiary notes were good, medium body and finish but a wonderful look into the 70's (3939 views)
 Tasted by carnyc on 12/2/2008 & rated 91 points: BYO Dinner at Tribeca Grill (Organized by Acker Merrall): No notes taken. (3201 views)
 Tasted by dccc on 2/22/2008 & rated 90 points: Given the age this wine was remarkably lively. Decanted for two hours it still had hints of rasberry and current fruits. We compared with '94, 95, 96 Insignia's with the 96 being the big winner. But all were great! (2685 views)
 Tasted by Siggy on 10/13/2007 flawed bottle: Insignia Vertical Tasting 1974-2004 (WA Frost, St. Paul): Showed some coffee and dark fruit, but woody and muted. Corked. (3186 views)
 Tasted by Dave Dalluge on 10/13/2007 flawed bottle: Thirty Years of Phelps Insignia (1974 through 2004): Sadly this was slightly corked. It did taste pretty darn good though with a blast of red fruit and a big tannic finish. (3449 views)
 Tasted by Burgundy Al on 10/13/2005 & rated 90 points: Casual Dinner with Great Wine with Friends (Chicago IL): Great black fruit aromas, modest spice, surprisingly fresh for its age. Black cherry and currant on palate, also fresh with good tannins and acidity for structural support. Very food friendly. (1097 views)

Professional 'Channels'
By John Gilman
View From the Cellar, Jan/Feb 2014, Issue #49, Another Round of Recently Tasted Old School and Neo-Classical American Wines
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia (Napa)) Login and sign up and see review text.
By Antonio Galloni
Vinous, 9th Annual Wine Dinner and Auction to Benefit The Mount Sinai Hospital (Feb 2012)
(Joseph Phelps Insignia) Subscribe to see review text.
By John Gilman
View From the Cellar, Jul/Aug 2008, Issue #16, The Golden Age of California Cabernet Part Two
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia) Login and sign up and see review text.
By John Kapon
Vintage Tastings, Cali Cabs Then and Somewhat Now plus Top 100 Weekend Teaser (4/10/2005)
(Joseph Phelps .Insignia) had an exotic nose full of perfumed, leathery and nutty fruit. The wine was sexy with its perfumed cassis, plum and vanilla aromas. The wine had an incredible finish, a lip-smacking, great finish that was long, defined, gritty, sturdy and spicy. Jim had a .La Mission. flashback, and it was a good call as the wine did have that touch of gravel and ripe, chunky fruit of La Miss. The wine was indubitably great  96 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of View From the Cellar and Vinous and Vintage Tastings. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Joseph Phelps

Producer website

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. From 1990 to 2007, the average score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is 94.5 pts., with the lowest score still a fabulous 91. The 2002 vintage was “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine, and the 2007 vintage has been rated 98 points by Robert Parker and 96 points 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.

Beginning with the 2009 vintage, estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Backus (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. In addition, a small amount of Syrah is produced from fruit owned by Hyde Vineyards in Los Carneros.

Though the main focus is on Bordeaux varietals, Joe Phelps has had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally Chardonnay was sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Los Carneros. Through the years, however, Joe continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and his search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, 200 acres were acquired and planting began. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay are producing some remarkable wines which are available for tasting at the Freestone Guest Center. Visit Freestone Vineyards to learn more.

Red Bordeaux Blend

Read about the grapes used to produce Bordeaux The variety Red Bordeaux Blend in CellarTracker implies any blend using any or all of the five traditional Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. As such, this is used worldwide, whether for wines from Bordeaux, Meritages from California and Canada, some Super-Tuscan wines etc.


Of interest concerning the sources for grapes for this wine:



WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley Wineries and Wine (Napa Valley Vintners) | Article in CellarTracker

Napa Valley

Napa Valley AVA

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