2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

2001 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

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99 Points Wine Advocate, 2005
99 Points Wine Advocate, 2011
93 Points Vinous Media
90 Points Wine Spectator

Customer Ratings

Based on 30 ratings
A Knock-out

What can I say. This wine is packed with sensational flavors, it's oak is very noticeable but the great intensity of the fruit and peppery spices justify it. The bouquet is enormous, almost sufficient on it's own to justify an outstanding score. I would score this one 97 points.

Knocked my socks off

Good to go , as young as it is, without decanting. better than Opus One.

Deserves the Price!

A triumph. Aged nearly 2 years in all-new French oak, this massive wine stuns with its supernatural balance. Manages the elusive challenge of reining it hugely ripe blackcurrant, 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. I had the 1/2 bottle which seems more developed now. (Great with a perfect steak @ Jacksons Steakhouse in Ft. Lauderdale on 6/21/05. $100 for the half bottle = $50 per glass. Worth it!)

Mixed review but a 5 none-the-less

Am I a victim of the power of advertising and marketing?...maybe. This is the best Insignia in a while, but I cannot believe it is WS #1. It has structure and "staying power", but #1??? I think it might appreciate in value above inflation, and it will bet better with laying down, but it is OK now. Serving it now is prestegious and tasty. Me, I would prefer a nice Kosta Browne pino...class without being presumptious. Overall at $95, it is OK. I have only 3.

Not Impressed

My tasting experience was very different from most of the critics (RP=95; WS=92-94; ST=94). While the aromatics were promising, this wine left a lot to be desired on the palate. It's very tightly wound up at the moment - the fruit is hardly present and is overwhelmed by the strong tannins. The finish, while long, was very dry. Overall, I thought the wine was pleasant, but lacked complexity and finished dry. Perhaps it's just in an awkward phase at the moment, but I don't believe this wine merits more than 87 points and certainly isn't worth the price you'll pay ($100+).

About Joseph Phelps

Producer Facts

Winery Name

Joseph Phelps

Web Site


Napa Valley 2001

An excellent vintage with deep, concentrated, well-structured wines, especially in Napa Valley. A dry winter and a warm, dry spring got things off to a quick start, but in April a bad frost (the worst in 30 years) hit Northern California hard. Fruit set was damaged and yields were clipped from the get-go.

The dry winter conditions that continued into March and April, combined with a significant heat spike in March, got the vines moving early. But the risk of frost damage hovered, and indeed a cold spell lasting up to 10 days resulted in the worst frost in 20 years, with temperatures regularly lower than 30°F in early April. In the Central Valley, a few overnight temperatures went into the mid 20°s. The result was crop size reduced by 20% in some varieties.

The cold snap was followed by the hottest May on record, and it continued with what proved to be the third hottest June on record. This kept the harvest looking like it would be on the early side, and the vines were about two to three weeks ahead of schedule.

But the frost took its toll, and even with significant new planting coming online the harvest would still end up short. Yet the silver lining was that the small crop would reach superb levels of concentration and the wines would show in their depth, richness, and structure. After such a crazy start, growers were relieved when July, August, and September turned out to be pretty uneventful, and conditions remained favorable through the end of harvest. Growers had the luxury of waiting to pick at optimum ripeness, and the result was a solid but small crop of superb wines.

Key Dates

Late bud break, 10 days earlier than normal

The worst frost in 30 years

Set heat records

Cool and foggy weather

Warm and dry

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