2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

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A past Wine Access story about 2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley

Wine of the Year: 2012 “Insignia” … what they don’t see won’t hurt them


On Sunday, WineAccess email “open rates” are 30% below the weekdays. It’s not too tough to figure out why. In Florida, we take a backseat to tee-times and the front nine. In Boston, it’s all about Brady and Gronk.

So why are we sending an email about the #1 Wine of 2015 on a Sunday??

With just 228 bottles remaining in the warehouse of Robert Parker’s 96- to 100-point 2012 Joseph Phelps “Insignia,” sending this offer to the entire membership is a recipe for a customer service disaster. As a result, we’re dribbling emails out today — just a few thousand at a time.

As to those on the golf course or glued to the tube, what they don’t see won’t hurt them.

We first began collecting Joseph Phelps Insignia in the early 1990s, when we were representing the winery on the East Coast. While our Insignia collection is not as deep as the cellar at Sparks Steak House, it’s equally thorough. Having tasted over 20 vintages in their youth, we — like Robert Parker — are convinced that the 2012 is the most extraordinary Insignia ever made.

In The Wine Advocate’s “The Historical Tasting of Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia” of November 2013, nine vintages were rated 98 points or more. Just three garnered 100 points — 1991, 1997, and the stunning 2002. But the 2012 is the ONLY Insignia to have earned 100-point potential from Robert Parker when tasted from barrel!

The MONUMENTAL 2012 Joseph Phelps Insignia is a classic Left Bank blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc. 100% estate-grown and -bottled. Opaque purple in color. Extravagant aromas of cassis, mountain blueberry, graphite, and tobacco, dashed with sweet spice. Massive on the attack, just packed with black-fruit preserves and crème de cassis. Parker described it as “deep, multidimensional, full-bodied, rich and opulent with a voluptuous texture.” Anticipated maturity: “2013-2043.”

Tasted three times by RP. 96-100 points on each occasion. $240 on release. $195 today for the WineAccess #1 of 2015. The last 228 bottles are now up for grabs of the greatest Insignia ever made. Shipping included on 2.

97 Points James Suckling
96 Points Wine Advocate, 2015
96 Points Wine Advocate, 2013
93 Points Wine Spectator
92 Points Vinous Media

Customer Ratings

Based on 87 ratings

these were cellared for years to come.

About Joseph Phelps

Producer Facts

Winery Name

Joseph Phelps

Web Site


Napa Valley 2012

Near-perfect conditions on the heels of two challenging years had Napa winemakers smiling as the 2012 harvest came to a close. To begin the season, spring bud break went off in perfect conditions, as did flowering and fruit set, setting the stage for a solid crop in terms of quantity. The summer continued with textbook conditions — warm days and cool nights allowing ripening with good flavors, sugars, and acid. Wines are rich, forward, and concentrated with plush, deep, dark fruit.

The ongoing drought played a role, with careful attention to irrigation causing some preliminary worries. Grapes did show some evidence of the stress with smaller, concentrated berries and higher polyphenols in the skins, but in the end these were more a contributing factor to the concentration and excellent quality of the fruit than a reason for concern.

Harvest started with a moderate September followed by a warm spell (with several days over 100°F) at the start of October, four days of rains to close out the month, and overall excellent conditions.

The results from these terrific conditions is a good-sized crop of very high-quality wines that are well-structured and concentrated with deep colors for the reds, slightly higher alcohols from the long ripening, but also in most cases with enough freshness and acidity to balance. Overall, they are wines with enough seductive fruit to be approachable young, but the best should age and develop for a decade and more.

Key Dates

Early bud break

Harvest starts for sparkling wine

Harvest starts for still wine

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