Naples Winter Wine Festival
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Current Bid $1,600.00   ( ) Active
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3 - 1.5 Liter 2002 Joseph Phelps INSIGNIA, Napa Valley

Joseph Phelps was a successful builder who came to San Francisco to establish a branch office for his construction company. Almost inevitably, he found himself drawn into the wine culture of Napa and Sonoma. His interest and passion grew until he established Joseph Phelps Vineyards near St. Helena in 1973. Phelps made several valuable contributions to the evolution of California wine. He was one of the first to plant and bottle Rhône grape varieties. He was also a pioneer in promoting blended wines; contrary to the single-varietal tradition of the time, he perceived that blends were more complex and could offer an experience greater than the sum of their parts.

The most famous of those blends was INSIGNIA. In 1974, he came up with the idea of creating a separate blend each year that would represent the finest wine he could make from that vintage: it might be a Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, or a combination of any varieties that Nature had smiled upon. For 2002 it was the Wine Spectator “Wine of the Year” at release. The blend was 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. It was rated 100 points by Robert Parker, Jr., who praised its “great purity” and “staggering fruit concentration,” and lamented that he hadn’t bought more of it for his personal collection. Finding it in Magnum format is unusual; owning three of them is unheard of.

INSIDER’S INFO: Wine to be shipped at the winning bidder’s expense.

DONORS: Lynn & Kent Shoemaker