- Nick's Import
2017 Joseph Phelps Insignia
Joseph Phelps was a successful construction executive and entrepreneur whose early interest in wine led him to establish vineyards on a 670-acre former cattle ranch in Napa Valley. Over the next 40 years Joe became one of the most respected figures in the California wine industry, building Joseph Phelps Vineyards into a critically-acclaimed winery internationally known for its iconic wines and unwavering commitment to quality. In 1974 Joe Phelps had the idea to make a separate cuvee each year, one that would represent the finest wine he could make from each vintage, and he called it Insignia. While his original intention was to allow Insignia to be any varietal he chose, it become increasingly clear that red Bordeaux varieties – particularly Cabernet Sauvignon - were ideally suited to Napa Valley and would consistently yield the best wines of the vintage. From 1977 on, Cabernet Sauvignon was never less than 50% of the Insignia blend and gradually became the dominant varietal. Joe’s vision evolved: Insignia would always be a proprietary red Bordeaux-style blend. Over forty years later, Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s most iconic wines.A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Sports magnificent density of colour, the core inky black and the hue an equally deep dark red black hue. Dazzling black cherry, blackcurrant and liquorice aromatics fill the olfactory senses followed by vanillin cedar, light scorched earth notes and spice. Rich and exceptionally concentrated the palate is awash with lavish black fruits that include blackcurrant, black cherry and liquorice. Firm yet well integrated tannins carry the densely textured fruit superbly with elements of vanillin cedar, earth, dark chocolate and spice lying underneath. Nicely balanced with good freshness concluding with a powerful aftertaste that shows great polish.
Cellar 8-10 years.
A beautiful, focused wine with a tight center palate of blackberries, blueberries and dark chocolate. Very subtle. Hints of mint and sage, too. Medium to full body and fine, racy tannins. A reserved and very pretty Insignia. Fresh finish. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2022.
A barrel sample, the 2017 Insignia is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, to be aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, it bursts from the glass with bold scents of baked black plums, crème de cassis and fruit cake with hints of espresso, tapenade, hoisin and potpourri. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers mouth-filling black berry preserves and loads of earthy sparks, framed by chewy tannins, finishing with loads of freshness. Very promising! 7,500 cases were made (about half the normal production).
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - Wine Advocate (Nov 2019)
Not yet bottled, the 2017 Insignia (which includes no Petit Verdot due to the frosts) offers both red and black fruits as well as lots of spice box, gravelly earth, and integrated oak. It opens up beautifully with time in the glass, is medium to full-bodied, has beautiful mid-palate depth and concentration, and a great finish. It’s a classic, undeniable success in this challenging vintage.