Insignia 2012 and New Releases from Joseph Phelps Vineyards

2015 was a landmark year for Joseph Phelps Vineyards, for both sad and celebratory reasons. In April, at the age of 87, founder Joe Phelps died.To the very end, Joe was tirelessly active in the company and his presence and philanthropic vision, with which he imbued the company over forty plus years, will be sorely missed by the Joseph Phelps employees who have dedicated the 2015 harvest to his memory. But there was cause for celebration too, in the unveiling of the spectacular new visitors’ centre in the former winery, housing several private tasting rooms and offering breath-taking views over the vineyards from the sunny terrace.

The 2012 and 2013 vintages proved that California is all about sun and The Californian Dream, both vintages having a consistently warm and dry growing season with no record-busting heat spikes which are so damaging to young fruit. 2012, in particular, was a vine grower’s gift: a mild winter with not too much rain leading to early budburst, a fine, even flowering and superb fruit set, followed by a hot, dry summer which allowed the fruit to ripen to perfection over the full season, with Insignia being harvested in October. 2013 was equally good, if a little warmer than 2012, again producing an abundant harvest of beautifully pure, healthy fruit. Even on the Sonoma Coast, the morning fog was less insistent than in other years, giving the grapes a longer hang-time in the sun.

Nicola Arcedeckne-Butler MW, September 2015

To order, please call us on 01353 721 999 or contact your salesperson

  Bottles per case   £ per case, in bond

Joseph Phelps Freestone Chardonnay 2013
Deepish yellow gold in colour, with a tight nose of citrus fruits underscored by a mineral note, racy and pure, leading to a palate of rich, dense, lemony fruit with a distant tropical note going to a long, poised, delicious finish. The time spent in wood does not detract from the fruit at all and, served blind, it would be tempting to place this as a Grand Cru from the Côte d’Or. Drink from 2017 to 2023

6x75cl 13.5% £165

Joseph Phelps Freestone Pinot Noir 2013
The Pinot fruit is sourced from two vineyards, Quarter Moon and Pastorale, with different soils and, more importantly, different temperatures; Quarter Moon is located closer to the coast and therefore slightly cooler. In most years, grapes from Pastorale have the edge but the additional sunshine hours in 2013 gave Quarter Moon the upper hand. Dense, vibrant red black with a nose of dusty red fruits, tarry and opulent with notes of green spice and black pepper behind. Fresh, tight black fruit on the palate, creamy and almost exotic without being extravagant, the fine tannins are totally masked by the fruit, going to a long, creamy, caramel finish. Sublime. Drink from 2017 to 2024

6x75cl 13.5% £165

Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013
87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Whilst the percentage of Cabernet has remained consistent this year, Cabernet Franc and Malbec have also made the cut at the expense of Merlot. Inky, dense red black right to the rim, the nose is gorgeously alluring with notes of spice and tar, mulberry and blueberry with a distant note of smoky wood spice, leading to a fabulously intense palate of smooth, supple black fruits, overlaid by perfumed violets and going to a long, evolving finish with substantial ripe tannins behind. This should really be kept but it is so come-hitherish already. Drink from 2017 to 2025



Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley 2012
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot,10% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. Normally the Insignia blend has a minimum of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon but 2012 marks one of the lowest percentages ever and sees fruit from new Cabernet Franc plantings beginning to make their way into the mix. Deep, semi-opaque right to the rim, with inky black fruit on the nose and a distant feral note overlaid with toasty, grilled notes and a hint of roasting coffee, mulberry and perfume, overwhelmingly alluring. Rich, dense and intense on the palate, luscious with huge ripe tannins with oak in evidence (the wine spends two years in 100% new French oak), smoky and desperately attractive already, this is a wine for the long term. Drink from 2020 to 2035+

14.5% £675













Insignia 2012: Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate (96-100) Points
"A magnificent Insignia…it boasts an opaque purple color as well as fabulous notes of graphite, blackberries, black currant liqueur, camphor, barbecue smoke and spice box. Rich, full-bodied and opulent with plenty of tannin and structure lurking beneath the extravagant generosity of fruit, this stunning 2012 should drink well for 25-30+ years."

To order, please call us on 01353 721 999 or contact your salesperson

These wines will be shipped for delivery in December 2015. Prices in this offer are per case, in bond London and Duty, VAT and delivery are payable when your wines are released for delivery to your home address. Private Cellar’s terms & conditions apply, please click here for more details

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