Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little reticent to begin, needing a fair bit of coaxing to reveal beautifully beguiling notions of wild blueberries, warm blackberries, black currant cordial, cloves and cedar chest with nuances of camphor, yeast extract, charcuterie and candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic elegance and depth, revealing loads of subtle floral, black fruit and earthy layers with a firm, very finely grained texture and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length. (LPB)
Lovely density and intensity with dark berries, blueberries and inky undertones with hints of spice, chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. The texture and length are fantastic here. Complex. Hints of smoky wood at the end. This needs three to five years more in bottle age. Exciting wine. Exciting wine.
This is a lengthy, powerful blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Together they coalesce as one seamless, complex experience of black currant, brambly berry and black pepper, with accents of graphite, pencil and cedar. Robust in tannin and youthful energy, it will benefit from aging. *Cellar Selection* (VB)
Is the 2016 Insignia the next 1997? Coming mostly from the Stags Leap region, with the rest from the Home Ranch, this deep purple-colored beauty offers a magical bouquet of crème de cassis, fruitcake, forest floor, tobacco leaf, and toasted spices. It shows even more complexity with time in the glass and is a full-bodied, powerful, ageworthy example of this cuvée that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25+ years or more.
The 2016 Insignia has turned out beautifully. Silky, layered and positively striking, the 2016 is magnificent. In this vintage, Insignia is especially silky, refined and understated, which is unusual for this wine that has often been more bombastic. Readers will have to be patient with the 2016, as it needs at least several years in bottle to be at its very best, but this is all finesse and class. (AG)
We may well be accused of being monotonous and even a bit biased in the perennial praise that Insignia earns in these pages, but we would remind that we evaluate every wine blind, and, when all is said, tasted and done, Phelps's flagship bottling is special, very sophisticated stuff and once again claims a place at the very head of the class. It is complex, it is polished and it is extraordinarly deep with an unsurpassed fusion of fruity richness and grace, and if, as usual, it shows the integral tannins of a wine destined to be very long lived, those short on patience and used to savoring young Cabernets cannot fail to find it other than irresistible even now. *Red Wine of the Year*
Made by longtime winemaker Ashley Hepworth, Joseph Phelps 'Insignia' is a blue chip stock in the Napa Valley. The wine - first made in 1974 - was the valley’s first proprietary 'Bordeaux blend'. It comes from non contiguous estate vineyards, mostly on the valley floor and lower hillsides. Insignia has a certain old fashioned character. The 2016, a bit oaky at first, is also packed with juicy, dense, sweet berry flavours, plus notes of tobacco and graphite. More than many Insignias when they are young, the 2016 already possesses a wonderful thick softness and length. (KM)
This is laden with dark currant, blackberry and black cherry preserve flavors, infused gently with alder, incense and black tea notes, all carried by a long swath of fine-grained tannins. Hints of warm stone and tobacco gild the finish. (JM)
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