Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Insignia Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

9.43223 ratings
9.3611 pro ratings
Napa Valley, California, USA
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
Top Notes For
Ron R
9.5

WS rated this 91 - criminal!
We think this rocks, and it’s structured for long-term cellaring. Beautiful whiff of tobacco, meat, spice-box and oak on the nose. Deftly balanced palate displays black briar fruits and polished tannins. Prominent minerality is balanced by just the right amount of acid. Yummy now, but is destined to further improve.

WS rated this 91 - criminal!
We think this rocks, and it’s structured for long-term cellaring. Beautiful whiff of tobacco, meat, spice-box and oak on the nose. Deftly balanced palate displays black briar fruits and polished tannins. Prominent minerality is balanced by just the right amount of acid. Yummy now, but is destined to further improve.

Oct 12th, 2019
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.6

The Joseph Phelps Party. This is the 17 Insignia.

The nose shows; brooding, black currants, dark tarriness, heavy expresso roast grounds, heavily extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black plum with skin, raspberries, cherries and strawberries faintly on the glass edges. Smoked meats, deep baking spices; clove, nutmeg, light cinnamon and just a touch of vanilla, dark turned earth, some dry top soil and fresh dark florals bouquet dominated with violets and lavender.

The body is round & full. The fruits are ripe, candied & juicy. It’s a brooding Insignia that will need lots of cellar time. The body is thick, round and heavy. Dark tarry, meaty tannins. Dark currants and well extracted; blackberries, black raspberries & black plum. Raspberries, cherries, and strawberries bring up the rear. Smoked meats, anise, tough leather, big pipe tobacco, woody, deep baking spices; clove, nutmeg, light cinnamon and just a touch of vanilla, dark turned earth, some dry top soil, dry to moist clay, graphite and fresh dark florals bouquet dominated with violets and lavender. The acidity is round and big. The full finish is brooding, well textured with great balance and persists endlessly.

The Joseph Phelps Party. This is the 17 Insignia.

The nose shows; brooding, black currants, dark tarriness, heavy expresso roast grounds, heavily extracted; blackberries, black raspberries, black plum with skin, raspberries, cherries and strawberries faintly on the glass edges. Smoked meats, deep baking spices; clove, nutmeg, light cinnamon and just a touch of vanilla, dark turned earth, some dry top soil and fresh dark florals bouquet dominated with violets and lavender.

The body is round & full. The fruits are ripe, candied & juicy. It’s a brooding Insignia that will need lots of cellar time. The body is thick, round and heavy. Dark tarry, meaty tannins. Dark currants and well extracted; blackberries, black raspberries & black plum. Raspberries, cherries, and strawberries bring up the rear. Smoked meats, anise, tough leather, big pipe tobacco, woody, deep baking spices; clove, nutmeg, light cinnamon and just a touch of vanilla, dark turned earth, some dry top soil, dry to moist clay, graphite and fresh dark florals bouquet dominated with violets and lavender. The acidity is round and big. The full finish is brooding, well textured with great balance and persists endlessly.

Sep 21st, 2019
David T

Independent Sommelier/Wine Educator

9.3

Joseph Phelps Party and the 83 Insignia from magnum.

The nose reveals; floral liqueur notes, more mid red fruits; strawberries, cherries & dark cherries. Blackberries, black raspberries, rhubarb, soft, volcanic minerals, limestone, steeped fruit tea, cedar, old leather & tobacco, dry crushed rocks, dark spices, dry herbal notes, eucalyptus, dry stems with dry & withering dark, red florals.

The body is medium full with a fair amount of tannins in a wine with this age. The structure, tension, length and balance are still quite sound with harmony. Floral liqueur notes, more mid red fruits, strawberries, cherries & dark cherries. Blackberries, black raspberries, rhubarb, soft, volcanic minerals, limestone, steeped fruit tea, dark spice with some heat, cedar, old leather & tobacco, cedar, dry crushed rocks, dark spices, dry herbal notes, eucalyptus, dry stems with some funkiness. withering dark, red florals. The acidity is nice. The long finish still show ripeness, good balance but, has leaned and shows nice persistence.

Joseph Phelps Party and the 83 Insignia from magnum.

The nose reveals; floral liqueur notes, more mid red fruits; strawberries, cherries & dark cherries. Blackberries, black raspberries, rhubarb, soft, volcanic minerals, limestone, steeped fruit tea, cedar, old leather & tobacco, dry crushed rocks, dark spices, dry herbal notes, eucalyptus, dry stems with dry & withering dark, red florals.

The body is medium full with a fair amount of tannins in a wine with this age. The structure, tension, length and balance are still quite sound with harmony. Floral liqueur notes, more mid red fruits, strawberries, cherries & dark cherries. Blackberries, black raspberries, rhubarb, soft, volcanic minerals, limestone, steeped fruit tea, dark spice with some heat, cedar, old leather & tobacco, cedar, dry crushed rocks, dark spices, dry herbal notes, eucalyptus, dry stems with some funkiness. withering dark, red florals. The acidity is nice. The long finish still show ripeness, good balance but, has leaned and shows nice persistence.

Sep 21st, 2019
Shay A
9.5

An absolutely stunning lunch from @joe leatherwood today. 1 sparkler, 2 whites, 5 reds and 1 dessert wine. All served blind.

This was only one year off from the Blankiet of being the youngest wine on the table, but it seemed so much younger than that. Compared to the ‘97 Insignia on the table, similarities abounded. Baking spices, soft/bruised plum, blackberries, even some blue fruit peeking through. Oak was more noticeable and it was decidedly more tannic and dense from start to finish (even when it had been decanted for 8hrs). Very surprised (in a good way) that this is 18yr Old Napa Cab...no rush here. I called this mid-‘00s Napa Cab.

An absolutely stunning lunch from @joe leatherwood today. 1 sparkler, 2 whites, 5 reds and 1 dessert wine. All served blind.

This was only one year off from the Blankiet of being the youngest wine on the table, but it seemed so much younger than that. Compared to the ‘97 Insignia on the table, similarities abounded. Baking spices, soft/bruised plum, blackberries, even some blue fruit peeking through. Oak was more noticeable and it was decidedly more tannic and dense from start to finish (even when it had been decanted for 8hrs). Very surprised (in a good way) that this is 18yr Old Napa Cab...no rush here. I called this mid-‘00s Napa Cab.

Aug 3rd, 2019
Shay A
9.6

An absolutely stunning lunch from @joe leatherwood today. 1 sparkler, 2 whites, 5 reds and 1 dessert wine. All served blind.

In. The. Zone. The first of five mind blowing reds. This, to me, epitomizes first growth version of Bordeaux. In fact, I called this Napa royalty style first growth style. It is dusty and just starting to channel some herbal and leather notes, but the density and purity/softness of the fruit (still quite dark, hint of red fruit), scream older Napa Cab. Added notes of fig, leafy tobacco, and truffled dark cocoa. Wonderful!

An absolutely stunning lunch from @joe leatherwood today. 1 sparkler, 2 whites, 5 reds and 1 dessert wine. All served blind.

In. The. Zone. The first of five mind blowing reds. This, to me, epitomizes first growth version of Bordeaux. In fact, I called this Napa royalty style first growth style. It is dusty and just starting to channel some herbal and leather notes, but the density and purity/softness of the fruit (still quite dark, hint of red fruit), scream older Napa Cab. Added notes of fig, leafy tobacco, and truffled dark cocoa. Wonderful!

Aug 3rd, 2019
Greg Koslosky

The last great and classic vintage from Phelps!

The last great and classic vintage from Phelps!

Jul 28th, 2019
Joe D'Angelo

The 2016 ‘Insignia’ is an absolutely incredible showing, and is amongst the most compelling vintages I have yet to taste from the Estate. Composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec which spent 24 months in 100% new french oak. As this unwinds in the glass it begins to release its seductive aromatics of ripe dark currants, crème de cassis and blueberries along with fresh violets, pencil shavings, wild sage brush and exotic spices. On the palate this is full-bodied, with a gorgeous rich, opulent texture that is beautifully balance by a lovely touch if underlying acidity keeping it fresh and inviting all the way through the long enveloping finish. Displaying a remarkable combination of both power and precision, the 2016 is a total stunner and will go on to have a marvelous future for many years to come.

The 2016 ‘Insignia’ is an absolutely incredible showing, and is amongst the most compelling vintages I have yet to taste from the Estate. Composed of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec which spent 24 months in 100% new french oak. As this unwinds in the glass it begins to release its seductive aromatics of ripe dark currants, crème de cassis and blueberries along with fresh violets, pencil shavings, wild sage brush and exotic spices. On the palate this is full-bodied, with a gorgeous rich, opulent texture that is beautifully balance by a lovely touch if underlying acidity keeping it fresh and inviting all the way through the long enveloping finish. Displaying a remarkable combination of both power and precision, the 2016 is a total stunner and will go on to have a marvelous future for many years to come.

Jul 10th, 2019
LM Segal

Dark red fruit and tobacco all over the nose and palate. Drinking so young, but gorgeous.

Dark red fruit and tobacco all over the nose and palate. Drinking so young, but gorgeous.

Jun 15th, 2019
Mike R
9.5

WNH Iowa and Saturday night

WNH Iowa and Saturday night

May 25th, 2019
Matt Lasater

Great bottle, no formal notes, mature and complex. Despite its tertiary character and there is still plenty of life on the palate, the oak that makes these wines so supple and lush in their youth has settled nicely.

Great bottle, no formal notes, mature and complex. Despite its tertiary character and there is still plenty of life on the palate, the oak that makes these wines so supple and lush in their youth has settled nicely.

May 19th, 2019