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  • Nick's Import

2018 Joseph Phelps Insignia

Napa Valley, California, UNITED STATES
$530. 00 Bottle
$6360.00 Dozen
Cellar: 10 - 15 Years (2031-2036)
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Cork

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 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Magnificent colour density featuring an impenetrable inky black heart and a near equally deep black dark red hue. Wafting out of the glass are potent ripe blackcurrant, black cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate scents which are intermeshed with vanillin cedar, light scorched earth, tobacco, graphite and subtle spicy dried herb notes. Exceptionally powerful and concentrated, the palate pairs a seductive opulence with a sleek yet firm tannin structure. Decadently rich cassis, black cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate flavours engulf every corner of the palate. Vanillin cedar, scorched earth, tobacco, graphite, dried herb and spice characters lie underneath. Dense and robust in its feel, it remains relatively unevolved finishing with a very long, super saturated aftertaste.
Cellar 10-15 years.
Alc. 14.5%

Other Reviews….
Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now.
99 points

The 2018 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard sources this year include: 30% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District),18% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 13% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 18% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 7% Barboza (Stags Leap District). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels.
Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes storming out of the glass with powerful notes of blackcurrant cordial, stewed black plums and boysenberries, plus hints of cedar chest, graphite, menthol and wet slate with a fragrant waft of clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate already demonstrates remarkable balance at this youthful stage, featuring a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the tightly wound, crunchy black fruits, finishing long and spicy. Drink 2024-2044.
97+ points
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - Wine Advocate (July 2021)