joseph phelps, insignia, napa valley 2016
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Bottled in January 2019, the 2016 Insignia is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little reticent to begin, needing a fair bit of coaxing to reveal beautifully beguiling notions of wild blueberries, warm blackberries, black currant cordial, cloves and cedar chest with nuances of camphor, yeast extract, charcuterie and candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic elegance and depth, revealing loads of subtle floral, black fruit and earthy layers with a firm, very finely grained texture and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length.
Is the 2016 Insignia the next 1997? Coming mostly from the Stags Leap region, with the rest from the Home Ranch, this deep purple-colored beauty offers a magical bouquet of crème de cassis, fruitcake, forest floor, tobacco leaf, and toasted spices. It shows even more complexity with time in the glass and is a full-bodied, powerful, ageworthy example of this cuvée that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25+ years or more.
Lovely density and intensity with dark berries, blueberries and inky undertones with hints of spice, chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. The texture and length are fantastic here. Complex. Hints of smoky wood at the end. This needs three to five years more in bottle age. Exciting wine. Try after 2022.
This is a lengthy, powerful blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Together they coalesce as one seamless, complex experience of black currant, brambly berry and black pepper, with accents of graphite, pencil and cedar. Robust in tannin and youthful energy, it will benefit from aging. Enjoy 2026–2031.
This is laden with dark currant, blackberry and black cherry preserve flavors, infused gently with alder, incense and black tea notes, all carried by a long swath of fine-grained tannins. Hints of warm stone and tobacco gild the finish. Best from 2021 through 2035.