TIME VISITED: 10/27/2015, 2:00:00 PM
Joseph Phelps Insignia Blending Experience-
Joseph Phelps is a breathtaking winery and vineyard that, in my opinion, is a must see! They offer a variety of different types of wine tasting and wine experiences to choose from, but please take note that they require reservations and do tend to fill up rather quickly. We narrowed it down to either the Barrel Aging Experience, where you learn about the role of the barrels in wine making and storage, and taste four Cab Sauvignons aged in different barrels; or the Insignia Blending Experience. In the end, it was the Blending Expeience that fit best into our already tight schedule. You can go to this link for a list of the experiences and tastings:
Insignia Blending Experience
If you want a unique wine experience that ventures off the beaten path of tours and simple wine flights, I highly suggest the wine blending seminar at Joseph Phelps. Here, you have the opportunity to play winemaker and make your own wine, and you’re making INSIGNIA! The flagship mother of all blends! Well, at least you’re trying to make Insignia.
Here’s how it goes down:
A wine educator (ours was Meghan) provides you with the six wine components that makes up Insignia- Merlot, Malbec, Cab Franc, Cab Napa vineyard, Cab Stags Leap, and Petit Verdot. You are also given a glass tube for measuring, a worksheet for notes, and an empty glass- and voila! Let your inner mad scientist go to work creating your own special blend of Insignia. Too much Malbec?? Not enough Petit Verdot?? You’re in charge!
What we tasted in addition:
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, St. Helena
2013 Chardonnay, Pastorale Vineyard
2012 Pinot Noir, Quarter Moon Vineyard
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2012 Backus Cab, Napa Valley
Let me just say, surprisingly, it’s a lot more tricky than it sounds. However, we each ended up making at least one blend attempt that we were quite proud of. I can’t imagine the pressure for a winemaker because their blending is on such a large scale! I was freaking out over my little 3 ounce glass lol.
If you’re a stickler for the traditional wine tasting experience, no need to worry. You still get the tour of the beautiful grounds, which have been renovated since I had last been there many moons ago. You'll learn some of the back history of the winery and the late Mr. Phelps. You might also get to try quite a few of the other wonderful Joseph Phelps wines, (Backus Cab anyone??) and, of course taste the winemaker’s current Insignia to see how your skills matched up to the pro. Yep, I won’t be quitting my day job any day soon……
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