With the release of the 1974 Insignia in the spring of 1978, Joseph Phelps Vineyards became the first California winery to produce a blend of the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grape varieties of Bordeaux under a proprietary label. Considered innovative at the time, the Insignia name was selected to represent the finest available production in each vintage year, and became the first proprietary wine of California to place blending above either varietal or vineyard designation as a determinant of quality. It would not be followed until a decade later by the second such wine, Opus One, and Insignia has remained the benchmark of this category for over a quarter century.
Insignia is an opulent wine of concentration, complexity and structure, with a superb balance of finely tuned acidity and dense, velvety tannins. Cassis, liquorice and spice are abundant on the palate, with notes of eucalyptus and earth. The finish is sweet, elegant and extended.
| Wine Spectator 94 points (Oct 15 2009)
Teasing with its floral, spicy cherry, wild berry and currant aromas, this is full-bodied, firm and structured, tight and focused, offering glimpses of what lies ahead with its complex mix of flavors and tightly wound tannins. Yet its finesse and refinement are apparent on the finish. Needs time. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Best from 2011 through 2018. 16,900 cases made. –JL
Wine Advocate 95+ points (Dec 2009)
The 2006 Insignia (95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot; 16,000 cases produced) is a superb effort in this vintage. Another 30+ year wine, it boasts a dense plum/purple color as well as abundant notes of licorice, black currants, charcoal, black olives, and graphite. Full-bodied, pure, and rich with moderately high tannins, it represents a California version of a Bordeaux from Pauillac or St.-Julien. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2045.
|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.