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The Best of the Best 2003: Domestic Red Wines – Joseph Phelps 1999 Insignia

The increasing fascination among U.S. winemakers with Bordeaux-style blends has yielded some admirable releases, yet none has managed to dislodge Joseph Phelps from its preeminence in this arena. Following on the successes of the 1997 and 1998 vintages (the latter being one of that year’s few triumphs), the Joseph Phelps 1999 Insignia outstrips its competition, demonstrating once again wine-maker Craig Williams’ and his team’s unparalleled gift for blending, which they have honed since Insignia’s premier release in 1974. The 1999 vintage is tremendously complex without being overbearing, from its jamlike nose to its full-round fruit and clove spice. This is an unctuous, silk-textured wine with ample tannins and a pleasing dustiness that makes it perfectly irresistible.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards, 707.963.2745, www.jpvwines.com, $125

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