1998 Insignia

Proprietary Bordeaux Blend
Blend and Grape Sources
78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot, primarily from estate-owned vineyards in Stags Leap and Rutherford, with additional fruit coming from independent growers in Rutherford, Carneros and Coombsville.
Harvest Dates
Sep. 30 - Oct. 20, 1998
Winemaking Data
Grapes were harvested at an average 24.0° - 25.0° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 20 months in new French oak barrels before being blended and bottled in September, 2000.
Winemaker Notes
When a wine is as successful as the 1997 Insignia, how do you compare the subsequent vintage to it? What are the chances of two consecutive wines scoring 96 in both the Wine Spectator and the Wine Advocate, and of being rated the No. 5 Wine of the Year in the Wine Spectator? The question, of course, is a rhetorical one. As of this writing the 1998 Insignia has not yet been released nor has it been reviewed. But we can say this. In a vintage that was characterized by problematical weather conditions and low crop yields, there was no compromise in the quality of the 1998 Insignia. After careful crop thinning in the vineyard and barrel aging in the cellar, small, flavorful lots displaying only the highest aroma and flavor profiles were combined and repeatedly tasted to determine the final blend. This rigorous selection process reduced case production 20% from the previous year, but the result is a wine of remarkable quality especially for a vintage that provided much less in raw materials. With dark, saturated purple color and aromas of spice, oak and cassis, the 1998 Insignia is full-bodied and well-balanced, with sweet tannins framing a layered finish. It is a generous, compelling wine which will almost certainly take its place among the best reds of the vintage.
Release Date
Spring, 2001
Recommended Wording For Wine Lists
Joseph Phelps 1998 Insignia. A luscious, multi-layered wine containing flavors of spice, oak and cassis, and sweet tannins framing a layered finish.