Joseph Phelps Insignia 2019
|Region||California, Napa Valley|
Another beautiful wine from this team, the 2019 Insignia is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon but includes smaller amounts of Merlot and Malbec, brought up all in new barrels, sourced from seven estate vineyards. It has a classic varietal and incredibly complex nose of crème de cassis, freshly sharpened pencils, green tobacco, and damp earth, with a kiss of background sappy spring flowers. Seemingly from a cooler year with its freshness, vibrancy, and herbal, floral character on the nose, it's nevertheless full-bodied and beautifully concentrated on the palate, with ultra-fine tannins, a seamless, layered mouthfeel, and a gorgeous finish. Unquestionably up with the finest vintages of this cuvée, this is legit awesome juice that’s going to offer incredible pleasure over the coming 20-25 years. Hats off to winemaker Ashley Hepworth.
Outer quote mark The 2019 Insignia is composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. The vineyard sources this year include: 32% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 23% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 14% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 3% Barboza (Stags Leap District) and 2% El Venadito (Oak Knoll District). The wine is aging for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a little swirling to unlock a gorgeous perfume of black cherry compote, stewed plums and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of bay leaves, red roses, underbrush and pencil lead plus a hint of menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers impactful black fruit preserves layers with finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and layered. (Tasted as a barrel sample.) (LPB) Inner quote mark (3/2021)
Outer quote mark Smells ripe and heady on the nose, expressive and seductive. This is rich and bold, it's edging on too much, with lots of wood on show in the slightly heavy texture, liquorice and coffee flavour and fullness in the mouth but there are such alluring and captivating aspects to this wine with striking details of rose, tobacco, blackberry, red berries and dark chocolate shavings on show. I like the fragranced aspects and the energetic acidity that gives lift and a sense of brightness but this is a strong, powerful and muscular wine that will need at least a decade to come around. Given enough time it will be beautiful. Ageing 24 months in 100% new French oak. (GH) Inner quote mark (7/2022)
The Wine Independent
A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, the 2019 Insignia is deep garnet-purple colored. It needs a shake or two before the glass combusts with atomic scents of creme de cassis, blueberry preserves, and stewed black cherries, followed by subtle suggestions of cedar chest, pencil lead, iron ore, and crushed rocks, plus a waft of cloves. Full-bodied, rich, and concentrated, the palate delivers compelling poise led by firm, fine-grained tannins and a lively line of freshness, finishing with epic length.
Given two years in new French oak, this vintage blends 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Brooding black fruit is complemented by classic notions of cigar box, tobacco, iron and clove, with a leather texture that's still got time to unfurl. Dense and chewy tannins provide a powerful imprint of intensity and ripeness matched in toasted oak. Enjoy best from 2029-2039.
Delivers showy fruit, with layered flavors of warmed boysenberry, blackberry and açaí berry paste, framed by a subtle alder hint and backed by warm earth and cast iron details on the finish. Not shy, and well-built for the vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2038.