The 2019 takes its time to open, but it certainly rewards the patient. The opening notes of iron and toasted nuts shapeshift into raspberries, pomegranate and dark spices. Silky and seamless in the mouth, the palate is loaded with ripe, earthy fruit and refined, polished tannins. Structured, yet expansive, this has the fruit intensity to go the distance in the cellar.
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 2019 Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyards takes time to open, metamorphosing from iron and woodsmoke to raspberries, dried flowers, dark spices and aniseed. The medium-bodied palate is silky and seamlessly fresh, loaded with perfectly ripe, earth-laced fruits whose flavors linger for a very long time in the mouth. This has the fruit intensity and structure to age very well in bottle.
Blueberry and spice with lightly toasted notes and some nuts. Full, yet very tight, with refined tannins and polish. Linear and long. Intense and vivid. A beauty. This needs time to open. Try after 2022.