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 91 points (Aug 15 2012)
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.óJ.L.
Wine Advocate 93 points (Dec 2011)
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia is a big, generous wine that covers the palate with waves of dark red fruit. Today it is beautifully expressive and opulent yet also well balanced. An explosive finish rounds things out in style. This looks to be a relatively approachable Insignia. Floral, spicy notes round out the finish. In 2009 the blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.
|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.