2018 Joseph Phelps 'Insignia' Estate Grown Red Wine Napa Valley
The scores are in and they surpassed expectations! We shouldn’t be surprised, in the years since Joseph Phelps first conceived of this iconic wine, Insignia has garnered four perfect scores, and become synonymous with Napa Valley excellence. Always 100% estate grown, always made from the very best wine lots across AVAs, always produced with the sole goal of extreme, uncompromising quality. When it comes to this emblematic wine, obsession would be an understatement. 2018 proved an exceptional vintage with outstanding flavor development and color. James Suckling called it “One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time.”
Followers of Insignia – this will be a vintage to invest in!
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.
Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now.WA97
The 2018 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard sources this year include: 30% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District),18% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 13% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 18% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 7% Barboza (Stags Leap District). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes storming out of the glass with powerful notes of blackcurrant cordial, stewed black plums and boysenberries, plus hints of cedar chest, graphite, menthol and wet slate with a fragrant waft of clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate already demonstrates remarkable balance at this youthful stage, featuring a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the tightly wound, crunchy black fruits, finishing long and spicy.JD97
Very much in the style of the vintage with its pure, concentrated, yet also elegant and focused style, the 2018 Insignia offers up a vivid purple hue to go with lots of red and blue fruits, menthol, tobacco, graphite, and distinct minerality. With an almost Bordeaux-like style, medium to full-bodied richness, present tannins, and a great finish, it's a beautiful, classic Cabernet Sauvignon blend from this team that's going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for two decades or more.WS94
This is richly layered, with cassis, crushed plum and blackberry puree flavors moving through slowly but steadily, while warm earth, ganache and black licorice notes follow along. Picks up a tarry edge on the finish as the fruit takes an encore. For fans of the muscular, fruit-driven style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2036.VN96
The 2018 Insignia is a beautiful wine. It is also quite delicate and less bombastic than some recent vintages have been. Its hard to tell if that is just the personality of the year or if changes in farming and/or winemaking are also at play. I suppose time will tell. In the meantime, the 2018 is gorgeous Insignia with tons of potential. Blueberry jam, spice, menthol, dried herbs and licorice all develop in the glass, all lifted by the salivating acids of a long, cool growing season.DC96
This shows the excellence of the 2018 vintage in Napa made by seasoned winemaker Ashley Hepworth who, this year, celebrates 23 years at Joseph Phelps. The wine opens with a seductive, fruity and generous nose followed by a mass of concentrated blackberry flavours edged with creamy coffee and caramel tones. Instantly mouthwatering then there comes a kick of power with spice and black pepper surrounding the tongues and cheeks... this is a fine example of Cabernet with freshness, poise and power.