Wine Spectator Ranks Joseph Phelps Insignia No. 1 Wine of the Year

Nov 29, 2005, 00:00 ET from Joseph Phelps Vineyards

    ST. HELENA, Calif., Nov. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Joseph Phelps Vineyards' 2002
 Insignia has been ranked the #1 Wine of the Year in the Wine Spectator's year-
 end review of the top 100 wines tasted in 2005. Marvin R. Shanken, Wine
 Spectator's editor and publisher, explains that 12,400 wines from around the
 world are blind tasted and narrowed down to a thousand, then a hundred, then
 the top 10.
     The first Phelps Insignia was produced from the 1974 vintage, and its
 release in 1978 signified the first time a California winery had produced a
 blend of traditional Bordeaux grape varieties under a proprietary label.
     In the early years, Insignia was sourced from independent growers, but
 beginning in 1989 much of the blend came from estate-owned vineyards in the
 Stag's Leap District and Rutherford Bench. The goal of transitioning over to a
 domaine-based wine will be realized with the 2004 vintage, when 100% of the
 fruit will be estate grown.
     Insignia has been produced every year since 1974 and, according to the
 Wine Spectator, "has earned an outstanding score in 26 of its 29 vintages." In
 1997, the 1994 Insignia was ranked #3 in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 (Nos. 1
 and 2 were Ports), and in 2000 the 1997 Insignia was ranked #5.
     Joseph Phelps, who headed Hensel Phelps Construction Company out of
 Greeley, Colorado, came to the Napa Valley in the early 70's to build
 Souverain Winery. In 1973, he subsequently founded his own winery a few miles
 southeast of St. Helena off the Silverado Trail.
     In addition to producing Insignia, Phelps is also known for his pioneering
 work with Syrah, a Rhone varietal that had been virtually forgotten in this
 country until he commercially released a 1974 Syrah in the fall of 1977.
     Phelps's latest venture is the development of 80 acres of Pinot Noir and
 19 acres of Chardonnay in the Freestone area of Sonoma County, along with the
 construction of a small winery, which is estimated to be completed by the 2007
     William Phelps, Joe's son, has recently been named Chairman of Joseph
 Phelps Vineyards;  Tom Shelton is President and CEO; and Craig Williams, who
 will be celebrating his 30th anniversary at Phelps next year, is Executive
 Vice-President and Director of Winemaking.

SOURCE Joseph Phelps Vineyards