*Cellar Selection* One of the first, if not the first, of the proprietarily named Napa Bordeaux blends, Phelps Insignia has been one of California’s greatest Cabs for decades. This is their 30th anniversary bottling, and it’s worthy of the tradition. Ultrarich and smooth, with a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet, it’s fairly thick in tannins now, suggesting cellaring. But it’s huge in blackberry, dark unsweetened chocolate and spicy plum fruit, and will easily hold for a very long time.
The 2003 has performed well in recent tasting, showing a dense purple color along with notes of creosote, lavender, flowers, creme de cassis, espresso roast, white chocolate and a hint of oak. Still in a young adolescent stage, it should drink nicely for another 15-20 years. (RP)
Not surprisingly, this year's Insignia again takes its accustomed place near the head of its class. It is a very deep and involving wine with a genuinely complex interplay of ripe cherries, sweet smoke, subtle herbs and notes of dusty soil running its length. As always, it displays hallmark polish and exemplary balance, yet it is never wanting for richness or strength. It deserves to be set aside for at least four or five years and has a very good shot at improving for a decade or more.
Saturated bright ruby-red. Aromas of currant, black cherry, graphite, licorice, sweet butter and bergamot, accented by dried herbs. Juicy, spicy and still a bit youthfully tight but with lovely sweetness to its flavors of black cherry, licorice and flowers. Finishes with big tannins supported by the wine's depth. Less viscous than the 2002. This wine has always been tight but may be starting to turn the corner. 92+ (ST)
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