Following a week of Bordeaux En Primeur releases, we are delighted to release a Napa powerhouse, Joseph Phelps Insignia 2015. The 2015 vintage appears to be the last of four banner years in Napa, broadly expected to surpass the 2014s and among the finest Estates, equalling the best of the 2012 and 2013 vintages. Joseph Phelps’ Insignia is one of the truly great iconic Napa wines, capable of appealing to almost all wine lovers, embodying a Bordeaux style with Napa flair. The 2015 release is the fourth in what must be considered the finest run of vintages this top Estates’ has ever seen. In 2013, this culminates in a potential perfect score. The wine has been awarded 97-100 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown who tasted it in October 2017, highlighting its ‘epic length.’ This follows Robert Parker’s 96-100 score in October 2016, saying ‘This wine looks to be another killer effort, with 13,000 cases produced… It should drink beautifully young but age effortlessly for 35 or more years.’
Insiginia is a remarkable wine, beautifully crafted and brilliantly priced for a Napa Icon. With 97-100 points it promises to match the perfect scoring 2002, which trades at £1,850 per case of six, or the 1997 which trades at £2,150. The 2015 is brilliantly priced today at £960 per case of six. This makes it possibly the best priced Napa icon wine on the market especially, when we consider the price of the other 100-point or potentially 100-point scoring 2015 Napa Icons.
Insignia is a true Bordeaux blend incorporating all five varietals, the 2015 Insignia is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec. Founded in 1974 by Joseph Phelps, Insignia has become one of the most revered Napa wines, winning Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year in 2005. The critical acclaim and accolades are beyond anything founder Phelps could have expected, or even desired for himself or his winery. Shy and introspective, Joe Phelps moved from Colorado to Napa in the late 1960s to help construct the former Souverain winery. Falling under the spell of Napa’s beauty, he decided to switch careers, plant a vineyard and build his own winery. Phelps’s Estate was completed in 1974 in time for harvest. Released in 1978, the first vintage of Insignia was ground breaking for Napa Valley as up until then wines had generally been released as single varietals – Chardonnay or Merlot – or as California brands of dubious titles, such as ‘California Hearty Burgundy,’ rather than simply with a proprietary label such as ‘Insignia.’
Since 1974, Insignia has been produced in every vintage; in the early years Phelps purchased fruit from other independent growers but since 2004 100% of the fruit has come from his own Estate. Joe’s son, Bill, now runs the winery, with Ashley Hepworth – a talented young winemaker who earned her stripes at Ch. Angelus in St. Emilion before working at Joseph Phelps – continuing the legacy of producing world-class wines.
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