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Joseph Phelps 2009 Insignia Red Blend

Price: $170.00
RETAIL: $200.00

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This deal ended 3442 days ago

Structured with layers of flavors that open as it breathes

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The Season
The 2009 growing season was marked by normal spring rainfall that ended in early May to help recharge the soil moisture profile just in time for a heat spike in mid-May.  June and July were cooler months.  August recorded normal weather patterns and September was warmer than normal.  Evening temperatures during the warm patterns remained cool enough to allow for better vine recovery from each day's heat.

Veraison began during the first 2 weeks of August and Brix levels at harvest rarely exceeded 25 degrees.  The color and concentration combined with flavor development, were good indicators that full maturity had been achieved.  Grapes selected for the Insignia blend were picked prior to the October rains experienced in Napa Valley.

The Vineyard
The Insignia red blend grapes are pulled from six 100% estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards from five sub-appellations: Stags Leap District, St. Helena, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District, and Rutherford.  Each vineyard is has its own unique features that make the Insignia.

Spring Valley Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and Scheurebe on its 119 acres of land consisting of bale clay loam, silty clay, and volcanic soil.  The vineyard sits on a hillside and valley floor terrain offer two distinct microclimates for growing a diverse selection of grapes.

Las Rocas vineyard in Stags Leap District grows Cabernet Sauvignon on its 40 acres of land consisting of bale soil, gravelly old river bed soil that is slightly acidic, and alluvial soils built up from mountains.  Stag Leap District wine is usually characterized with intense berry and cassis flavors, a smooth yet velvety texture, and potential to age gracefully.

Barboza vineyard in Stags Leap District grows Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot on its 16.5 acres of land consisting of bale soil, silty clay, and volcanic soil.  The soil composition allows for good moisture retention.

Suscol vineyard in Napa Valley grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec on 93 acres of land consisting of haire soil, acidic soil on old terraces and alluvial fans, and rocks.

Yountville vineyard in Oak Knoll grows Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon on 28 acres of land consisting of cobble silt loam, gravelly and fertile soil.  The soil composition allows for good moisture retention and slow runoff, contributing to the balance of the wine produced from these grapes.

Banca Dorada in Rutherford grows Cabernet Sauvignon on 34 acres of land consisting of bale soil and silty clay.  The vineyard is located on the west side of the valley which makes it more protected from afternoon sun.

The Process
Grapes were picked in the cool dawn hours, sorted and moved to stainless steel tanks for a cold soak of three to five days.  Following fermentation, they extended macerations of up to forty days adding to the rich, vibrant hue, a fuller mouth feel, and more concentrated, intense flavors in the young wines prior to their French oak aging.

The Experience
The 2009 Insignia has a beautiful deep garnet hue with incredible depth and concentration.  Aromas of freshly crushed blueberries and blackberries intertwined with baking spices, cigar box, and attractive floral notes are followed by seamless tannins, texture and finish.  The wine is focused and freshed with a youthful showiness.

The Facts
Varietal Composition: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Vedot, 4% Malbec
Appellation: Napa Valley
Barreling: 24 months in 100% new French oak
Harvest Date: September 15 - October 11, 2009

The Story Behind Joseph Phelps Vineyard
In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.

Four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Thirty-one of thirty-six vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa, Backus Vineyard in Oakville and Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

Beginning with the 2009 vintage, estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. In addition, Syrah is produced from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

Though the main focus is on Bordeaux varietals, Joe Phelps has had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally Chardonnay was sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Carneros. Through the years, however, Joe continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and his search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere five miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, Joseph Phelps Vineyards began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone. In 2005, construction began on a new winery which was completed in time for the 2007 harvest. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name.

When Joe Phelps founded his estate winery and vineyards in 1973, he did so with a clear vision for the work and commitment that would be required to create the best wines possible. Essential to his goal was assembling a winemaking team who would embrace his dedication, attention to detail, and tremendous passion for the craft of winemaking itself. Today, the talented winemaking team of Ashley Hepworth, Napa Winemaker, Damian Parker, Director of Winemaking, Philippe Pessereau, Director of Vineyard Operations, Kelly Fields, Napa Assistant Winemaker and Justin Ennis, Freestone Assistant Winemaker, have taken Joe’s vision to heights even he could never have imagined.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 95 pts
"A gorgeous, totally voluptuous wine, the 2009 Insignia bursts from the glass with exuberant blue and black fruit, grilled herbs, cloves and cassis. In 2009, the Insignia is silky and polished, yet there is considerable underlying tannin that needs time to soften. Layers of fruit flow effortlessly to the huge, structured finish. I imagine the 2009 Insignia will enjoy a broad drinking window. It is striking today, but also clearly has the stuffing to age for many, many years. The 2009 is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.

Winemaker Ashley Hepworth has done a fabulous job with these new releases. While most of the attention at Phelps centers around the flagships Insignia and Backus, over the last few years I have been equally impressed with the straight Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that delivers tremendous bang for the buck. In addition to these wines, I also tasted a few Syrahs from the 1970s. Today, Phelps is known for their Cabernet Sauvignons, but it is also worth remembering Joe Phelps was the first grower to introduce Syrah to the Napa Valley several decades ago." - Antonio Galloni

Wine Enthuiast - 96 pts
"This wine continues a long-standing tradition, showing a mastery of the art of blending. It’s made using grapes that are sourced from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right out of the bottle, it’s a soft, smoothly tannic wine that’s rich in blackberry jam, black currant, blueberry, raspberry, dark chocolate and spice flavors. The wine, which contains small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec, is so powerful, it easily carries the 100% new French oak. Just gorgeous now, and it should develop bottle complexity for at least the next 10 years." - Steve Heimoff

Aging Potential: 15-20 Years
Appellation: Napa, California
Barrel Type: French Oak
Body: Full
Color: Garnet
Flavor Pairing: Herb Roast, Grill
Food Pairing: Steak, Pork, Lamb, Duck
On the Nose: Cloves, Cassis, Blackberry
On the Palate: Currant, Cloves, Cigar Box, Cedar, Cassis, Blackberry
Serving Recommendation: Use a Decanter, Room Temperature
Texture: Velvety
Varietal: Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

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