2018 Joseph Phelps, Insignia, Napa Valley, California, USA

2018 Joseph Phelps, Insignia, Napa Valley, California, USA

Product: 20188115636
 
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2018 Joseph Phelps, Insignia, Napa Valley, California, USA

Description

Joseph Phelps is practically the inventor of the Bordeaux blend in California, and the team has done a wonderful job with the Insignia in 2018. Clarice Turner, who began as a trainee 23 years ago and is now head of winemaking and director, knows exactly how to get both juice, tension and power out of Cabernet Sauvignon, while still maintaining nuance. A ton of interest and spice. Great persistence through the palate, soft black pepper, rosebud and oyster shell on the finish adds a fragrant, saline twist. I am always a fan of this wine, and love that it showcases the history and quality of Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa.

Drink 2023 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Sept 2021)

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson97/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-96/100
Wine Advocate97+/100
Wine Spectator 94/100
James Suckling99/100
Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100
Jane Anson97/100
Joseph Phelps is practically the inventor of the Bordeaux blend in California, and the team has done a wonderful job with the Insignia in 2018. Clarice Turner, who began as a trainee 23 years ago and is now head of winemaking and director, knows exactly how to get both juice, tension and power out of Cabernet Sauvignon, while still maintaining nuance. A ton of interest and spice. Great persistence through the palate, soft black pepper, rosebud and oyster shell on the finish adds a fragrant, saline twist. I am always a fan of this wine, and love that it showcases the history and quality of Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa.

Drink 2023 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Sept 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous93-96/100
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.

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Jan 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate97+/100
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. 17,000 cases were made.

Drink 2024 - 2044

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Jul 2021) Read more
Wine Spectator 94/100
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. 17,000 cases made.

Drink 2022 - 2036

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Aug 2021) Read more
James Suckling99/100
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.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Aug 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100
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.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (Jan 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps, a building contractor from Colorado, first invested in vineyards in the Napa Valley in 1972. In 1974 Phelps and his winemaker Walter Schugg produced their first vintage of Insignia, which at the time was one of the first Bordeaux style blends in California. Its Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot grapes are sourced primarily from Rutherford & Stags Leap (notably for `Insignia'); the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from Los Carneros & Napa (for the better quality fruit).

Insignia, which is aged in oak barrels (25% American) for 22 months has been on hot streak since 1990 and current winemaker Craig Williams is producing richer and riper wines than before. The winery produces a wide range of wines apart from Insignia and of particular interest are its Rhône style wines made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Viognier.

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Cab.Sauvignon

Cab.Sauvignon

The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.

It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.

The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.

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