This wine dances circles around the palate with finesse, concentration and balance. 2018’s extra hang-time made for exceptionally complex flavor development and fruit quality, which shines through, big-time. Fresh flowers and cedar set the scene before crushed blackberry and red-currant jam take the stage on an elegant, medium-bodied palate framed by firm, grainy tannins.
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.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is bright, punchy and full of energy. Sweet red berry, mocha, licorice, spice, menthol and a kiss of new French oak all grace the 2018. Plummy and pliant, the 2018 will drink well right out of the gate, but it has the pedigree to develop nicely for a number of years. Most of this fruit is sourced from vineyards in the southern end of the valley.