Overview of the Wine
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.
Grape / Blend
87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc
Napa Valley, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
The 2018 Insignia opens with beautifully perfumed floral, dark fruit, anise and cigar box aromatics. A wine of depth, elegance and finesse, the palate is fresh and focused with creamy texture and layers of blackberry, mocha and black cherry. The seamless tannin structure and balance culminate in an uplifting, lengthy finish.
99 Points - James Suckling (Number 8 in the Top 100)
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.
97 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
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.
94 Points - Wine Spectator
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.
Product size: 750ml