95 Points - new release
Fantastic new Sonoma Coast Chardonnay release from the legendary Joseph Phelps.
95 Points Wine Enthusiast *Editor's Choice*: "This 100% varietal wine from the cooler outpost of Freestone is so deliciously crisp, bright in minerally lemon and fresh pear. It lingers on the palate in complex ways, elusive one moment, then exuberant the next - a celebration of ideal vintage and place."
91 Points Robert Parker: "The 2014 Chardonnay Freestone Vineyard is 100% Chardonnay aged 13 months in one-third new French oak puncheons and barrels. They make a considerable amount of this wine, which exhibits orange marmalade, honeysuckle, a floral underpinning and some gravelly minerality. It is fresh, crisp, medium to full-bodied, and comes from a blend of different clonal material. Drink it over the next 4-5 years...
...Joseph Phelps has a whopping 102 acres on the Sonoma Coast called the Freestone Vineyard, 82 acres of which is planted in Pinot Noir and the balance Chardonnay. The interesting thing about this site is the bud break can occur as early as February, and the hang time often exceeds the European model of “100 days,” often lasting as long as 120 to140+ days. All of the wines that follow, even in a great vintage such as 2012, rarely exceed 14.2% alcohol, with most coming in under 14%. Their flavor intensity and richness make them fascinating, and I suspect this relatively new operation will get better and better as the vines age, and the Phelps team in Napa continues to fine tune the vineyards and the winemaking."
Joseph Phelps is a legend in Napa for defining that delicious rich Napa style which is epitomized by Phelps “Insignia”- but he also makes a knockout Sauvignon Blanc from Napa as well.
The 2013 Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc is beautiful, focused and full of energy. Pears, lemon oil, white flowers and mint flesh out in an inviting, layered Sauvignon Blanc endowed with gorgeous texture and personality. The aromatics are expressive and floral, but the emphasis is all on texture, much of it coming from fermentation in puncheon.
The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was aged for seven months in 35% new French oak puncheons and 65% one to three-year-old French oak puncheons and barrels before bottling in May 2014. The lees were stirred during and after fermentation for a silky, round mouthfeel and light oak influence while preserving focused acidity and finesse in the wine. This wine shows bright Mandarin orange blossom, lemon curd, citrus and honey aromas. Full, ripe flavors of Meyer lemon, pear, honeydew melon and vanilla cream fill the mouth with a streak of minerality through to the nicely balanced long citrus finish. The 2013 growing season proved to be another excellent year in Napa Valley. Overall, it was slightly warmer than 2012, resulting in the earliest Sauvignon Blanc harvest at Phelp's St. Helena Home Ranch Vineyard in the last seven years.
94 Points Parker
Fantastic new Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir release from the legendary Jospeh Phelps.
92 Points Robert Parker: "Gorgeous dark red cherries, savory herbs, licorice and mint are woven together in the 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Freestone Vineyard. Intense and rich, the 2011 is surprisingly rich for the year. Wilder, gamier notes appear later, adding complexity on the inviting finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021...Once again, I came away deeply impressed with the wines I tasted from Joseph Phelps and their Freestone Vineyards range. These are without question some of the most polished wines being made in the Sonoma Coast today. The 2011s, all of which I tasted from barrel, are also highly promising. The Pinots are quite savory and Syrah-like in this vintage. It will be interesting to see how they develop over the coming year."
Fantastic new Joseph Phelps Napa Cabernet release.
Robert Parker: "Not surprisingly, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a deeper, richer, fuller effort with a more saturated ruby/purple color as well as lots of creme de cassis, smoke, forest floor, incense and background wood. Medium to full-bodied and rich in fruit with low acidity and extremely sweet tannin, this will be a crowd-pleasing, delicious Cabernet Sauvignon to drink early on or cellar for 10-15+ years...
...Winemaker Ashley Hepworth has done a fabulous job with these new releases. While most of the attention at Phelps centers around the flagships Insignia and Backus, over the last few years I have been equally impressed with the straight Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that delivers tremendous bang for the buck. In addition to these wines, I also tasted a few Syrahs from the 1970s. Today, Phelps is known for their Cabernet Sauvignons, but it is also worth remembering Joe Phelps was the first grower to introduce Syrah to the Napa Valley several decades ago."