Sensing the limitless potential of the Napa Valley to grow the world’s finest wines, Joseph Phelps decided in 1973 to found his own wine business, to be known as Joseph Phelps Vineyards. In so doing, Joe became a leader in a remarkable group of entrepreneurs who launched a new era of excellence in California wine.
After three decades of participating in the day-to-day winery operations, in November of 2005, Joe stepped down as Chairman and the Board of Directors elected Joe’s son, Bill, in his place.
In his later years, Joe held the title Chairman Emeritus, although he often referred to himself as “Chief Observer”. Joe’s memory continues to provide inspiration to the management and employees of Joseph Phelps Vineyards.
eRobertParker.com #1113 Nov 2013 Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 An inky/plum/purple color is accompanied by a stunning bouquet of violets, charcoal, creme de cassis and a hint of toast. Prodigious when it hits the palate with a full-bodied expansiveness, there is not a hard edge to be found in the 1997, only velvety tannins, compelling depth and fruit intensity, and stunning purity. It is a perfect expression of Napa viticulture and wine that should continue to age effortlessly for two decades or more.
An ideal warm, dry spring, June and July was followed by a surprisingly cool August that slowed down what looked to be rapid sugar accumulation in the grapes. September's temperatures were average to above average, without any potentially damaging heat spikes. This allowed the harvest to unfurl slowly, with no stress or imminent danger. For many Napa Cabernet Sauvignons, this resulted in one of the top vintages of the nineties. Consumers, observers and wine critics will undoubtedly argue for decades over which vintage of the nineties turned out to be the finest – 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995 or 1997. The 1997 Insignia is a 20,000-case blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, with 60% coming from estate vineyards and 40% from growers. The alcohol came in at 13.8%.
JS: James Suckling
BV: Bidvino Staff
RP: Robert Parker
WS: Wine Spectator
JH: James Halliday
JR: Jancis Robinson
WE: Wine Enthusiast
DM: Decanter Magazine
JD: Jeb Dunnuck
1997 Joseph Phelps Insignia
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