Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Insignia Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

9.5226 ratings
9.457 pro ratings
Napa Valley, California, USA
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
Top Notes For
Shay A
9.7

WNH virtual Insignia Tasting. Vintages featured were ‘95, ‘96, ‘00, ‘01, ‘02, ‘09, ‘13 and ‘14.

This was the Wine Spectator wine of the year and received a 100 point score from Wine Advocate (for those interested in accolades and scores).

Knowing the pedigree here, I knew to expect some fireworks and tried to prepare accordingly. I gave this 24hrs upright after pulling from the cellar, and then decanted about 90mins, before consuming from the decanter over the course of the evening. The cork came out perfectly via the Durand and had absolutely zero seepage up the cork. My glass of choice was the new Glasvin Expression. Really like their glasses.

My first sip after opening had me looking at my wife saying “this is 18yrs old and is insanely youthful”. When hearing from my friends about their mid/late ‘90s, and for the ‘01, those offerings had basically zero merlot. The ‘00 had a similar amount to this (14%), and I think that component really elevated this to a more “elegant” style. The oak here comes across as a mix of French and American (though it’s all French)...the oak has such a distinct sweet note to it that I associate with American oak on Cali wines, yet isn’t full on coconut. Aromatically, it’s a beautiful display of cherry tobacco, black cherry cordial, violets, and elevated heady notes of black cherry pie. On the palate, there is creme de cassis, espresso, cocoa powder and mellowed red fruit before a finish that has surprisingly grippy tannin. This drinks like a bigger style left bank Bordeaux with how wonderfully integrated it is. Zero chance I’d call this 18yr old Napa cab if tasting blind. This easily has 5+yrs in this drinking window, and another 5-10 in the next evolution journey before really starting to slide. If opening now, decant 1-2hrs. One of the best expressions of aged Napa cab I’ve had this year.

WNH virtual Insignia Tasting. Vintages featured were ‘95, ‘96, ‘00, ‘01, ‘02, ‘09, ‘13 and ‘14.

This was the Wine Spectator wine of the year and received a 100 point score from Wine Advocate (for those interested in accolades and scores).

Knowing the pedigree here, I knew to expect some fireworks and tried to prepare accordingly. I gave this 24hrs upright after pulling from the cellar, and then decanted about 90mins, before consuming from the decanter over the course of the evening. The cork came out perfectly via the Durand and had absolutely zero seepage up the cork. My glass of choice was the new Glasvin Expression. Really like their glasses.

My first sip after opening had me looking at my wife saying “this is 18yrs old and is insanely youthful”. When hearing from my friends about their mid/late ‘90s, and for the ‘01, those offerings had basically zero merlot. The ‘00 had a similar amount to this (14%), and I think that component really elevated this to a more “elegant” style. The oak here comes across as a mix of French and American (though it’s all French)...the oak has such a distinct sweet note to it that I associate with American oak on Cali wines, yet isn’t full on coconut. Aromatically, it’s a beautiful display of cherry tobacco, black cherry cordial, violets, and elevated heady notes of black cherry pie. On the palate, there is creme de cassis, espresso, cocoa powder and mellowed red fruit before a finish that has surprisingly grippy tannin. This drinks like a bigger style left bank Bordeaux with how wonderfully integrated it is. Zero chance I’d call this 18yr old Napa cab if tasting blind. This easily has 5+yrs in this drinking window, and another 5-10 in the next evolution journey before really starting to slide. If opening now, decant 1-2hrs. One of the best expressions of aged Napa cab I’ve had this year.

Dec 3rd, 2020
LM Segal

Big, velvety and perfectly balanced. Rich red fruit, saddle leather and dried maraschino cherry. My WOTN.

Big, velvety and perfectly balanced. Rich red fruit, saddle leather and dried maraschino cherry. My WOTN.

Sep 1st, 2020
Mike Saviage

Dark reddish tawny, opaque. Very perfumed. Notes of cherry, mocha, plums, moist earth and some leather. Rich and round in the mouth. Great finish. In a great drinking window.

Dark reddish tawny, opaque. Very perfumed. Notes of cherry, mocha, plums, moist earth and some leather. Rich and round in the mouth. Great finish. In a great drinking window.

Jun 7th, 2020
Rob Brobst III

Wow OMG!!!

Wow OMG!!!

Apr 11th, 2020
Mike Saviage

Dark and opaque. Not showing much age. Black cherries and plums in the nose. Some pencil shavings. Rich and luscious fruit. Not overly complex. One dimensional but very enjoyable.

Dark and opaque. Not showing much age. Black cherries and plums in the nose. Some pencil shavings. Rich and luscious fruit. Not overly complex. One dimensional but very enjoyable.

Jan 19th, 2020
Michael Herzog

Young, bombastic, and what you expect from this wine. However, it has a lot of time left and will be even better in 5-10 years. Wine of the year in 2003 from Spectator and it holds up.

Young, bombastic, and what you expect from this wine. However, it has a lot of time left and will be even better in 5-10 years. Wine of the year in 2003 from Spectator and it holds up.

Dec 13th, 2019
Garen Staglin

Perfectly balanced. Wonderful fruit. Out of Magnum.

Perfectly balanced. Wonderful fruit. Out of Magnum.

Apr 29th, 2019
Logan Smyser

Mother's Day with my family. 100 point rating and Wine Spectator Wine of the Year! It tastes better every time I drink it.

Mother's Day with my family. 100 point rating and Wine Spectator Wine of the Year! It tastes better every time I drink it.

1 person found it helpfulMay 11th, 2015
Martin G Rivard

@Kirk Alexander @David L @Ron R @Joe Lucca @Mike Rowe Kirk was gracious enough to uncork this badass wine. It was wine of the year in 2002!
It is in a perfect place right now. Firing on all cylinders. It was evident on the nose, Palate and immense finish. Truly spectacular. Thanks Kirk!!!

@Kirk Alexander @David L @Ron R @Joe Lucca @Mike Rowe Kirk was gracious enough to uncork this badass wine. It was wine of the year in 2002!
It is in a perfect place right now. Firing on all cylinders. It was evident on the nose, Palate and immense finish. Truly spectacular. Thanks Kirk!!!

Dec 18th, 2016