Wine Advocate 90 points - This deep ruby/purple-colored offering is an elegant, medium-weight wine with sweet red and black currant fruit, dark cherry, loamy soil and foresty characteristics as well as ripe tannin. This should be an early maturing Insignia that evolves quickly, but positively over the next 10-12 years. (Nov 2013)
Wine Spectator 91 points - Combines deep, ripe dark berry fruit with crushed rock, cedar and lead pencil notes. A step back in richness and complexity for Insignia, this is built for cellaring. Tannins have a green, bitter edge. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2014 through 2024.—J.L. (Aug 15 2012)
96 PTS-WE; 94 PTS-IWC; 92 PTS-JS; 01 PTS-WA; 91 PTS-WS
96 PTS – Wine Enthusiast
"This wine continues a long-standing tradition, showing a mastery of the art of blending. It’s made using grapes that are sourced from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right out of the bottle, it’s a soft, smoothly tannic wine that’s rich in blackberry jam, black currant, blueberry, raspberry, dark chocolate and spice flavors. The wine, which contains small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec, is so powerful, it easily carries the 100% new French oak. Just gorgeous now, and it should develop bottle complexity for at least the next 10 years."
94 PTS – International Wine Cellar
"Good deep ruby. Rich but youthfully stunted aromas of plum, currant, chocolate, licorice and mint. Then plush, fine-grained and sweet on the palate, with excellent fat and a loamy complexity to the flavors of blackcurrant, dark chocolate and graphite. This has evolved nicely since I tasted it a year ago from barrel. In a distinctly generous style but structured for a long life in bottle. Finishes with gripping, tongue-saturating tannins and terrific chocolatey length."
92 PTS – James Suckling
"A solid core of fruit, with currants, minerals, fresh mint, and stones. Full bodied and chewy. The mid palate should fill in later."
91 PTS – Wine Advocate
"The 2009 Insignia is tighter and more restrained, and appears to be going through that inevitable stage when, after a year or two in the bottle, many Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines close down and reveal their huge structure and tannic ferocity. The inky/purple-colored 2009 possesses plenty of creme de cassis, bouquet garni, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla and toast characteristics. It is full-bodied, but the tannins are formidable and the wine seems to be in one of those broodingly backward stages that require patience from potential buyers. There were 10,540 cases produced, so it was a modestly sized vintage, and the wine is slightly lower in alcohol than the 2008.
91 PTS – Wine Spectator
"Combines deep, ripe dark berry fruit with crushed rock, cedar and lead pencil notes. A step back in richness and complexity for Insignia, this is built for cellaring. Tannins have a green, bitter edge."
The 2009 Insignia has a beautiful deep garnet hue with incredible depth and concentration. Aromas of freshly crushed blueberries and blackberries intertwined with baking spices, cigar box and attractive floral notes are followed by seamless tannins, texture and finish. This wine is focused and fresh, with a youthful showiness.
Blend:: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec
From 100% estate-owned Napa Valley vineyards.
|Wine maker notes
|Grapes from each vineyard are vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, in contact with the skins, over an average period of 21 days. After malolactic fermentation, the blend is assembled within six month of harvest and aged approximately two years in new French oak barrels. The wine is then given a light filtration before bottling.
|In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.
Nearly four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Twenty nine of 34 vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oakville.