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 Advocate 97 points (Dec 2011)
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia is a towering, statuesque wine bursting with blackberry jam, tar, spices, leather and licorice. It shows fabulous depth and richness backed up by serious, imposing tannins that suggest it has a long life. Ideally, the 2008 should be purchased by those who can be patient; it is not a wine for those seeking immediate gratification. The blend is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.
Wine Spectator 94 points (Nov 5 2011)
Dense and chewy, this is very tight and closed, but the glimpses of fruit offer tight mineral, crushed rock, graphite, dried currant, cedar and anise. Full-bodied and way too young to drink now, this needs time, but should provide years of rewarding drinking. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Best from 2014 through 2026. 16,650 cases made. –JL
|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.