1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia

Opened this on Saturday. I still love this wine. Thick black cherry, sweet entry, full body, wonderful aromas of cherry, and blackberry. finish is sweet and tannic, but I love the tannins in this. The finish could be bigger, it could have more complexity to it, but I just love this wine. Ordered 6 more at $87.00. 93 pts. imho. I am very glad this is still available and everyone is not chasing it. smile

It used to be beer, the old lady, & TV. Now it's wine, American Express, & this stupid forum!
Original Post
i am savoring the last glass of this as i write these comments. this is a delicious example of a california cabernet (yes, i know it's a blend, but at 71% cab, it's a cab in my book). i know it's a very young wine as well, but it is drinking beautifully right now, as someone mentioned in another thread somewhere the other day. whoever said it was right. i had this decanted about an hour & a half before i got home from work this evening & shared the bottle with my brother & my wife. i bought this at costco for @ $86 yesterday. it has a beautiful black cherry & chocolate nose, wonderful long legs & flavors of black cherries, vanilla & cassis with just a hint of milk chocolate on the long lingering finish. unlike the '97 brunello i drank last night, there are no mouth puckering tannins. in fairness, though, i didn't taste this until it had had significant air time. 96 points & i guess it could get better, i supose i'll make another trip to costco soon & smuggle some more into the house somehow. wink

gus@garlic.com

"caught in the jaws of life"
gfleener,


Your notes are right on! Much better than mine, but also very acurate. I could never get enough of this wine. About 4 months ago I opened a 95 Insignia and the 99 and we tasted them blind. The 99 was most everyone's favorite! You are also right about it tasting well right now. I sure hope it does not go into a dumb stage.

vista

It used to be beer, the old lady, & TV. Now it's wine, American Express, & this stupid forum!
The more I keep reading these reviews of the 99 P.I., the more likely I am to open one with the in-laws for Christmas tomorrow. I am salivating here. Well, I better go. I have Betty Ford on my other line. razz

Stood up and tried to focus<br />I hoped I wouldn't have to look far<br />I knew I could use a bloody mary<br />so I stumbled next door to the bar
Lakersguy,

Since you seem to be the Insigniaguy, I have a question. I have older Insignia's I plan to drink a few times a year. I kind of feel like the 99 will not be that great say 4 years from now because of a dumb phase or loosing fruit. I do not think it is going to be as great as it is now in say 5 years. My question is do you think it would be wise to drink them say over the next 2 or 3 years and just enjoy them for what they are?
Or would you disagree with me and say that they will be better in time?

Thanks in advance,

Vista

It used to be beer, the old lady, & TV. Now it's wine, American Express, & this stupid forum!
The 99 Insignia and for that matter, all of the Insignia’s in the 90’s are built to drink upon release and improve with bottle age. I'll refer you to this site on the Phelps website.

http://www.jpvwines.com/general_news_spring2002.html

The 99 California Vintage in general will benefit from 5-10 years of bottle age and many of the top producers will benefit from 10-20 years in the bottle with proper storage. The 99 Insignia seems to me to be about a 10-year wine. The best part about Insignia is that you can drink them now and drink some over the years to determine how the wine has evolved.

My experience with Insignia is that they can go into a shutdown phase, the 94 did and has come around beautifully and drinking almost as good as its going to get. The 95 did and I found it to be a rather long time, 2 years. It is just now coming around. These wines still need at least two hours of decanting before drinking, I prefer 4 hours.

Depending on the number of bottles you have, I’d drink the wine at least one bottle per year to see where it is. You’ll probably never be disappointed.

Not only are these GREAT wines but because you can almost always find some makes it clearly one of the top three wines produced in California every year.
This is my first complete bottle of this wine I have opened and tasted. I’ve tasted this wine upon release and felt that it had good acidity and intensity and big tannins that told me this wine would need 5 years before we knew if it would be a great Insignia.

Last night opened bottle 1 hour before tasting without decanting. The 99 Insignia is definitely built to age and quite uninvolved. Not nearly as drinkable now as the 94,95 and 97 was 9 months after release.

Deep ruby in color. The wine didn’t every really show much on the nose but a little bit of cassis, dark chocolate. Loads of sweet fruit and great intensity without any impression of weight. Not nearly as seamless as the 97. Finishes with substantial chewy, big tannins.

This wine is not one of my favorite Insignia’s. I like the 94,95,96 and 97 better but, the 99 might outlast all of them and in 10 years be a really decent wine.

Tasting this wine last night reminded me how incredible the 97 Insignia really is.
A friend poured this last night. A very nice wine that needs time. I think the 1997 was much more approachable at this age whereas the 1999 I think will need a couple more years to reach the same level of suppleness. It's a 92 now but has the complexity hiding in the background to bring it to a 95 aging.
had on vacation out on cape cod in Orleans. Small wine list but had this for $160 and the Caymus 2003 for $80. thought both were pretty good restaurant prices.

Decanted and aired for about 45 minutes to start, and then drank over an hour. Great color, right to the edge, with a nose of dark chocolate and dark fruits. First taste was great, ripe fruit with a hint of tannins, but his bottle was very well integrated. Smooth mid-palate and good long finish with 'chewy' tannins being the best descriptor. I would agree that this is not a 97 but this bottle was showing awfully well and was a nice part of a vacation week on the cape. I would rate this 92-93 points.

Dale
1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley (6/9/2009)

2nd time I have had this wine. This was opened by Otis as part of our 1999 Cal Cab retrospective dinner. This was the top wine in my opinion. When I first had this in 2003, it was tannic and unforgiving. It has opened up very nicely since then. Dark black red color without any bricking. The fruit was still concentrated but more pleasurable. Notes of black cherry, plum and light oak. Round finish. 93 points.

VM
quote:
Originally posted by Vino Me:
1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley (6/9/2009)

2nd time I have had this wine. This was opened by Otis as part of our 1999 Cal Cab retrospective dinner. This was the top wine in my opinion. When I first had this in 2003, it was tannic and unforgiving. It has opened up very nicely since then. Dark black red color without any bricking. The fruit was still concentrated but more pleasurable. Notes of black cherry, plum and light oak. Round finish. 93 points.

VM


VM, do you know if this was decanted, or just a pop-n-pour?

TIA
I did not decant. Popped it and tasted. Huge nose and velvety texture. Tons of dark fruit and noticable oak at first. Decided it did not need decanting, just uncorked for an hour.

This is a muscular, well-proportioned Insignia. Not flamboyant, but deep and resolute. The strong silent type. It reminds of the '91 (one of my favorites) at a similar age and should get better with additional cellaring.

If you own multiple bottles, worth benchmarking now. I'd say VM's 93P rating is spot on at the moment. Could see it reaching 95-96P at its peak.

Cheers,

Otis
quote:
Originally posted by otisabdul:
I did not decant. Popped it and tasted. Huge nose and velvety texture. Tons of dark fruit and noticable oak at first. Decided it did not need decanting, just uncorked for an hour.

This is a muscular, well-proportioned Insignia. Not flamboyant, but deep and resolute. The strong silent type. It reminds of the '91 (one of my favorites) at a similar age and should get better with additional cellaring.

If you own multiple bottles, worth benchmarking now. I'd say VM's 93P rating is spot on at the moment. Could see it reaching 95-96P at its peak.

Cheers,

Otis


Thanks!
We had this bottle decanted at the table about an hour before dinner.

Beautiful opaque black/purple juice was poured with no signs of maturity. Abundant dark fruits with spices dominated, but there were also hints of smokey cedar, or eucalyptus.

This was an excellent bottle of wine that will continue to age well for another 15/20 years, and one of the best bottles of the 1999 Insignia that I've opened. 94/95 points
There are no less than 5 threads on this wine. This is the oldest.

1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley (10/17/2009)
WIML92

Tasted October 17, 2009 at an offline.

Dark garnet to purple color in the glass, clear hue throughout. Nose of smoke, plums, florals, currants, raspberries and a bit of dark chocolate. Lovely flavors of plums, berrries, a bit of Bing cherry and a dash of raspberries. Medium acidity, firm tannins and body. Drink now with some air time or continue to hold. (92 pts.)
I've opened a lot of 1999 Insignia, most bottles I rated 90/92 points. However, my last bottle was opened in August 2009 and I rated it 94/95 points. It was indeed something very special, and now I'm thinking I've opened too many bottles of the 1999 Insignia-----too early!
1999 Joseph Phelps Insignia - USA, California, Napa Valley (12/24/2012)

3rd time I have had this. This bottle was a gift from Dr.T. Opened at a Christmas party. Not decanted and moderately sedimented. Drinking beautifully now. Smooth and elegant. Very different than when released. Notes of cedar, herbs and plums. Integrated tannins. Long finish. 95 points.

VM

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