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Spotlight On: Joseph Phelps Insignia 1999

Insignia 1999 can be found at auction for below its release price

John Siudut
Posted: August 26, 2008

While wines in Wine Spectator's Cult Index (comprised of 70 California wines from six producers) are averaging a healthy $800 a bottle, other California notables, such as the Joseph Phelps Insignia 1999 (94 points, $125 release, $95 current), can be snapped up at prices lower than release. This makes the Insignia 1999 one of the better values on the auction market, which is surprising on account of the winery's recent successes and Wine Spectator Wine of the Year honors in 2005 for the Insignia 2002 (96, $150, $204).

From the beginning, the wine struggled in the auction market as the price fell below the $100 mark, and then went on to decline in its first two years on the block. After the price tag hit a low of $54 in the second quarter of 2004, it began a measured rise in value over the next three years and reached a high of $129 in the first quarter of this year. But the rally was cut short and again the wine's price has fallen below $100 in the second quarter of 2008. Volume was strong this past quarter and the margins of trading held tightly between a high of $113 and a low of $90, indicating that there is a good chance prices will remain at this level.

The upcoming sale at Hart Davis Hart on Sept. 19 and 20 features a case lot of the 1999 with estimates on par with current averages, at a low of $75 a bottle and a high of $117 a bottle.

This data comes from the Wine Spectator Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions. This chart shows the average auction prices of Joseph Phelps Insignia 1999 from the 2nd quarter of 2002 to the third quarter of 2008.

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