joseph phelps, insignia, napa valley 2012
JEB DUNNUCK
97
JAMES SUCKLING
97

2012 joseph phelps, insignia, napa valley

Why We're Buying

In 1974, Joseph Phelps began making separate cuvées for each year, with each one representing the finest wine from the vintage. Thus, Insignia was born. While the amount of cabernet sauvignon changes each year, Insignia's quality never does. It has earned four 100-point ratings from wine critic Robert Parker, and Wine Spectator ranked the 2005 as the top wine of the year.

Critics Scores

JEB DUNNUCK
97

Jeb Dunnuck

Another sensational 2012 is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia, which is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Aged two years in new barrels, this is a decidedly opulent, sexy wine that has loads of crème de cassis, roasted herbs, lead pencil, lavender, and exotic spice. With a massive, expansive, broad, yet also weightless texture, it has a stacked mid-palate, no shortage of structure, and a blockbuster finish. It’s an incredible Cabernet that can be drunk today with incredible pleasure or cellared for two decades or more.

JAMES SUCKLING
97

James Suckling

Amazing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, mineral and bark. Complex nose. Full body plus super integrated tannins with superb balance and depth. Coffee and chocolate too. Very long and mind-bending. A tribute to the vintage. Drink or hold. A long life ahead of it. A blend of 75% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 10% petit verdot, 3% malbec, and 2% cabernet franc.

ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE
96

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The flagship wine of the estate in reds is their Insignia, which has been one of the great Bordeaux blends made in California since the debut vintage in 1974. It usually has 30+ years aging potential, even in lighter vintages, of which the 2012, 2013 and 2014 are decidedly not. The 2012 Proprietary Red Insignia, a final blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc all from estate vineyards, was aged 24 months in 100% new French oak. There are 15,000 cases of it, and it’s a fabulous, classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky purple to the rim, with notes of lead pencil shavings, incense, camphor, blackberry and creme de cassis, the wine is full-bodied, offering a multi-layered, textural, skyscraper-like mouthfeel, terrific purity, density and richness. All of this is achieved without a sense of heaviness or anything aggressive. This is a beauty to drink now and over the next 30 years.

WINE ENTHUSIAST
95

Wine Enthusiast

In this vintage, the producer's beloved blend is a commingling of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Two years in new French oak give it a youthful, tannic nature around smoky black cherry, burly leather and full-bodied richness and concentration. Further time in the bottle should coax out the blackberry and cherry; cellar through 2027.

WINE SPECTATOR
93

Wine Spectator

Packs a wallop, perhaps overly so, with extracted dark berry flavors and tannic muscle. The drying sensation on the finish distracts from the ripe blackberry, earth, cedar and gravel notes. Aromas of cassis, currant and blackberry offer more promise. Either way, this is built to cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2017 through 2030.