Joseph Phelps Insignia 2018
|Region||California, Napa Valley|
The rarest offering of Insignia in twenty years, 2017 Joseph Phelps Insignia opens in the glass with heady aromas of mocha, cedar, roasted espresso, blueberry and ripe plum. Fresh and focused with building layers of black cherry, blackberry preserve, spice box and vanilla essence. Plush, velvety texture and seamless tannins culminate in a lengthy, lingering finish.
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.
Not yet bottled, the 2017 Insignia (which includes no Petit Verdot due to the frosts) offers both red and black fruits as well as lots of spice box, gravelly earth, and integrated oak. It opens up beautifully with time in the glass, is medium to full-bodied, has beautiful mid-palate depth and concentration, and a great finish. It’s a classic, undeniable success in this challenging vintage
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.
The 2017 Insignia is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc coming from: 46% Las Rocas vineayrd (Stags Leap District), 22% Barboza vineyard (Stags Leap District), 13% Suscol vineyard (South Napa Valley), 10% Yountville vineyard (Oak Knoll District) and 9% Home Ranch (St. Helena). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant scents of Black Forest cake, preserved plums and blueberry pie plus touches of redcurrant jelly, potpourri, clove oil and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has gained weight from it's in-barrel offering, boasting rich, decadently perfumed black fruit preserves flavors with a racy backbone and velvety tannins, finishing long and spicy. 7,400 cases were made.
This has a real sense of freshness and grip. A pure expression of Cabernet with a shot of eucalyptus and menthol, extremely concentrated but with elegance and power. The tannins just grip on to your palate and don't let go leading to a lovely chewy finish. This is great stuff, with a discernibly finessed style that shows a fine tannic balance magnified through the lens of Californian heat and laced through with cassis, espresso and chocolate block. Great structure, this will take a few decades of ageing in its stride. 100% new oak, from five vineyards around Napa Valley, mainly in Stags Leap and Oak Knoll.
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.