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2001 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1011476 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Still a young wine at age 12, the 2001 Insignia exhibits a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of camphor, blackberries, cassis, incense and spring flowers. Full-bodied, rich and heady with sweet tannin, stunning concentration and a fabulous finish, this remarkable Insignia has 25 or more years of life ahead of it. (RP) 98+  (11/2013)

96 points Wine Enthusiast

 A triumph. Aged nearly two years in all-new French oak, this massive wine stuns with its superb balance. Manages the elusive challenge of reining in hugely ripe black currant, cherry and oak flavors and sweet tannins while keeping the palate impression soft and alluring, almost feminine. Just gorgeous right out of the bottle, but should develop effortlessly through the decade and beyond.  (10/2004)

95 points Vinous

 (from an early harvest, like 2015; the first vintage of a ten-year spell without any Cabernet Franc): Dark red with ruby highlights. The aromas of currant, graphite minerality and dark chocolate convey an inviting warmth. Wonderfully suave, fleshy and sweet, especially for its 13.9% alcohol. Deep, broad flavors of raspberry, sandalwood and soy are energized by a subtle mineral quality and harmonious acidity. Outstanding intensity and tight grain here. Finishes with serious but integrated tannins that spread out horizontally on the very long finish. This wonderfully balanced, still-young wine has clearly benefited from the firming influence of its 8% Petit Verdot element, the highest to this point. Incidentally, this was the last vintage of the Insignia with measurable brettanomyces--but it works for me! (ST) 95+  (4/2016)

95 points Wine & Spirits

 This is a great vintage of Insignia, which means it's a great Napa Cabernet that will last for decades. The balance is amazing, incorporating beautiful red fruit deepening to black cherry and darker berry, a lot of alcohol and a lot of oak holding it structured and strong. The texture is flawless, with tannins adding richness and earthy notes of black Stags Leap District soil. Those tannins seamlessly support the sweet blend of Cabernet with a touch of Petite Verdot (8 percent) and Malbec (3) extending the clean berry flavors long after each sip.  (2/2005)

93 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Far and away the more polished of the two showcase bottlings from Phelps, this year's Insignia is simply bursting with well-extracted curranty fruit and is, from its first sniff through to its very long finish, a luxuriant wine that is layered with gorgeous oak. It claims different territory than its sturdier partner below, and it achieves a real sense of elegance without sacrificing richness or size. It is so finely balanced that it almost tempts drinking now, but its undisguised tannins remind that its best lies some years ahead. *Two Stars*  (12/2004)

Jancis Robinson

 First vintage with no Merlot. Bright crimson with blackish hints. Lively top notes with real refreshment. I'd have guessed more Cab Franc from the nose. But then lots of sweetness on the palate. And a certain tarriness of texture. Still a little chewy and bitter. I wouldn't choose to drink this yet! 17/20 Drink: 2015-2030  (3/2013)

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Price: $299.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.