2019 Cabernet Sauvignon marks the first vintage to include fruit from the new Joseph Phelps vineyard named El Venadito, located in the Oak Knoll District, just south of the winery’s Yountville Vineyard.
Vinification/ Aging: The blend was aged for 18 months in 48% new oak (58% French and 42% American), and 52% older French and American oak barrels before bottling.
Alcohol Grade: 14.5%
Best to have it: 16-18ºC
Size: 750 ml
The Winery: Joseph Phelps Vineyards
In the early 1970s, Napa Valley was a sleepy agricultural town on the brink of a fine-wine awakening. Drawing on his construction experience, Joe set about establishing the building blocks of winemaking excellence.
By embedding his no-compromise philosophy deep into the bedrock of the winery, Joe set the framework to push for greatness. In 1974, he had the idea to make a unique blend each year, one that would represent the finest wine he could make from each vintage. He didn’t necessarily think it would always be a Cabernet Sauvignon either. His only thought was to make one wine that represented the best of Joseph Phelps Vineyards. Today, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for Californian winemaking that has earned Joseph Phelps its longstanding reputation for excellence.
From the inaugural 1973 vintage, three wines were produced at neighboring wineries: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Johannisberg Riesling. Just one year later, the winery was built and ready for the 1974 harvest, which yielded two wines that would prove to be highly influential in the coming decades. One was California’s first varietally-labeled Syrah – a little-known grape in California at the time. These early experiments with Syrah led to wider interest in Rhône grapes like Mourvèdre, Marsanne, Grenache and Viognier. The other is the now-iconic Insignia, the original proprietary Napa Valley Red Blend.
True to character, Joe never stopped striving for excellence throughout his life. His quest to locate optimal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay led him to the town of Freestone on the western Sonoma Coast. In the late 1990s, Phelps played a pioneering role being among the vanguard of wineries to develop Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards on the Sonoma Coast, followed by a dedicated winemaking facility in Freestone that was finished in time for the 2007 harvest.