So here it is Tuesday evening and I've just returned from a tasting of a couple really fantastic wines. Joseph Phelps, It's a name that most wine drinkers have probably heard of, including their most notable wine, Insignia. I have a soft spot in my heart for Phelps as their wines are truly top notch and we had the wines at the wine shop, including Insignia. On this particular occasion, I was able to partake of three of their wines.
To make this tasting even more special (this is where Sheldon from The Big Bang would interject and say that special doesn't or shouldn't require a superlative like more in this case) the East & Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Thomas Columbus, was there to talk about and inform us about the wines.
From the first harvest in 1973, Joseph Phelps has made wines from the Napa Valley and then the Sonoma Coast. Their long history and a knack for purchasing prime vineyards, giving way to making their splendiferous wines. (This is like one of those words of the day thing, I couldn't help but use splendiferous).
First up on our list was the 2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. The first sip confirmed that this was my kind of wine. The presence of French Oak unmistakable and oh so mouth-filling. 7 months in 33% New French Oak puncheons (they can run up to 500 liters versus a barrel that is around 200). Bright acidity with great minerality and that stone fruit you get when using oak. Click here for the tech sheet.
We then moved on to the Freestone Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay. Freestone is the name of their vineyards in the Sonoma Coast area. Here they make predominately Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Beautifully balanced with citrus and mineral notes enveloped by a slight brioche finish. FYI, you are probably looking at the 2015 or 2016 vintage if you find it. Don't hesitate, they should be equally as good. Click here for the tech sheet.
Lastly, and the one I had hoped we would have a chance to try, the 2014 Insignia from Napa Valley. Knowing that it had received multiple 96 and 97 point ratings, I was eager to see for myself. I had bought 2013 for the wine shop and 2014 seemed like another home-run. A blend of 87% Cabernet, 9% Petit Verdot and 2% each of Malbec and Cab Franc and 100% Estate Grown fruit, combined with 24 months in 100% New French Oak, this wine is killer! Big rich flavors and tannins to aid in its development. Long finish that makes you savor each sip. Thomas also told us the story about how the name "Insignia" came about. Any guesses? One last factoid, 2014 is the 41th Anniversary of the wine. Check out the video below for more info. Click here for the tech sheet.
Most of the three wines, along with their superb Napa Valley Cabernet, should be available in the area. If not, you can go directly to the winery website here and purchase.