From the library of Joseph Phelps comes this elegant blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Merlot with a light touch of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Concentrated aromas of black fruit, cinnamon, tobacco and graphite hint at the layers of richness within. Lush and generous on the medium to full-body, this expansive offering is aged to perfection and ready for savoring.
Joseph Phelps has long been one of Napa Valley’s stalwarts. For more than 30 years, they have been a pacesetter for critically acclaimed wines. As Robert Parker wrote of their flagship red, 'The Insignia cuvée has been one of Napa’s great Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines since its inception in 1974' and Wine Spectator observed that Phelps is 'one of Napa Valley's benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon producers.' Their focus is on world-class standards, top growers and meticulous cellar triage with Insignia seeing only the best components each year. Phelps has a web of vineyards that would make any winemaker excited to go to work. The winery has been working exclusively with estate-owned fruit sources since 2004, and their specific sites are exceptional. They know every nuance of the land and can conjure magic and bottle thunder. And as evidenced by the press for the 2008 Insignia, Phelps’ continued march towards exclusively estate-owned vineyards is paying handsome rewards.
Tasted in October, 2007, the wine was mute, offering little aromatically except for teasing notes of blackberries and oak. That shyness extended to the taste, where strong, hard tannins provide an almost impenetrable coat of armor to what’s inside. But right down the middle of the palate is a deep, intensely powerful stream of perfectly ripened cassis that’s all the proof you need of ageability. This is a magnificently structured young wine, reminiscent of a fine young Pauillac. Best after 2012, and should have another decade after that, at least.