We recently moved our 400+ wine collection from Santa Clarita, CA to Las Vegas, NV. We purchased three chillers in total, which I divided: one would hold our New World, another for Old World, and a third for Drink Now. (This is the link to my public social media post with the chillers pictured.) Our Drink Now chiller seemed to be overflowing with California reds over 10 years old, Pinot Noir and white varieties. So, I did what any wine collector would: I began to pull some drink nows out to stand them up and get ready to open. I started with a 2006 Joseph Phelps Insignia “red wine”, Napa Valley Estate Bottled. Here are my tasting notes:
The color was the blackest blackberry in the bunch. Then on the nose I was greeted with crushed Italian black plums, black cherry, cracked black pepper, lots of grilled mushroom, perfectly charred steak and a very dark chocolate. The flavor was very balanced with dark stewed fruit, dried berries, peppery tri-color peppercorns, lingering spice and drying tannins. For me, like most of our Insignia wines this is 100 Eve points.
About Our Collection
We have been collecting wines for most of our marriage, at least 35 years. Our current Joseph Phelps collection goes back to 2002 so we will be working our way through these special bottles – as well as their Backus label – one at a time for a while. The only other winery collections we have are from our wine clubs with Beringer, Hourglass, Phifer Pavitt, PureCru (by winemaker Mitch Cosentino) and Acquiesce (however, Acquiesce is a white wine winery club so most of those are gone before the next club shipment arrives!) Everything else is about one or two bottles from a single winery. We hold our California wines about 10 years, our Bordeaux and Rhone for 10-20 years and our Barolo and Brunello for 20.
“Our Story” – From Joseph Phelps Vineyards
It began with a vision. A belief in the possibility of something bigger and better – something that didn’t quite exist yet. 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.
For half a century and three generations, the Joseph Phelps Vineyards team has followed in Joe’s trailblazing footsteps for winemaking excellence, gracious hospitality, and sustainability efforts in our vineyards and wineries to preserve and enhance the cherished region we call home.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.