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 Vintage1992 Label 1 of 140 
ProducerJoseph Phelps (web)
VarietyRed Bordeaux Blend
SubRegionNapa Valley
AppellationNapa Valley
UPC Code(s)010465709608

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2001 and 2014 (based on 22 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Joseph Phelps Insignia on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 92.3 pts. and median of 93 pts. in 54 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by Hodby on 11/8/2014 & rated 93 points: Medium red-garnet color. Decanted. Spearmint and pipe tobaccos lead a well-spiced cherry nose. On arrival, fine tannin and medium acidity. Somewhat elegant presentation in the mouth, good fruit and oak spice both quite fresh. Finishes long, velvety. Bottle #2 of two. (1236 views)
 Tasted by thelostverse on 4/26/2014 & rated 94 points: Opened by Sue at 4th Saturday Group. Notes of black fruit, tat and leather. Not showing any signs of age. Beauty. Guessed Cali Cab blend. (2129 views)
 Tasted by AllRed on 4/26/2014 & rated 94 points: 4th Saturday group "uptown" tasting (Rick & Cris'): Aromas of currants, herbs, cedar and leather. Tannins are completely integrated leaving a balanced wine with lovely red & dark fruit qualities mixed with dusty earth and tobacco tones. Gorgeous. (2348 views)
 Tasted by fredb on 9/3/2013: Cork crumbled into many pieces on removal. Decanted through strainer funnel to remove cork and pull wine off moderate amount of fine to medium sediment. Dark red color with limited transparency. Aromatically full of currant and cherry with a hint of leather, licorice, and plum. The palate has currant and plum with some coffee, leather, and cedar that carry into a medium-long finish. Opens and becomes more red fruited with air. Drinking fine now and should hold and continue to develop tertiary notes over coming years. Drink or hold. (3398 views)
 Tasted by Marc on 6/22/2013 & rated 93 points: Celebration for Bud's Seventieth Birthday (Eketahuna, New Zealand): Still an absolute baby - has the look and nose of a much younger wine. Drunk next to a Pichon Baron 1990, almost the entire table confused the two wines. Once the identities were revealed those people who confused them ( including me) could see the ripeness of the California fruit vs. the green streak of the Bordeaux. This is certainly world class Cabernet that is slightly monolithic but I imagine will develop into a more nuanced wine with further age. Beautiful fruit and immaculate winemaking at work. (3800 views)
 Tasted by shine on 11/11/2012 & rated 94 points: Drinking wonderfully. Lots of complex secondary flavors of tobacco, leather, graphite and spice. Nice finish. (3936 views)
 Tasted by Vino Me on 10/9/2012 & rated 94 points: 1992 Retrospective Dinner (New Buffalo, Michigan): Opened by Mark. Very excited to try this wine as it was a vintage of Insignia I hadn't had before. I've had the 1989, 1990, 1991, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004. This was among the best of them with only the 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2004 approaching the same quality. Not decanted. Rich red fruit with a creamy texture. Full bodied with no signs of fading at present. Notes of berries, raw meat and light oak. 93-94 points. (3861 views)
 Tasted by Javachip on 10/6/2012 & rated 95 points: San Diego WineSpectator.com Offline, 10/6/2012 (Carlsbad, California): Cork broke in half on extraction. Decanted one hour before tasting. Clear deep dark garnet-blood red. Glorious bouquet of black and red cherries, cloves, forest floor, aromatic wood, hint of dill. Similar to the 1997 and 1998 Dominus tonight -- didn't seem any more evolved than those wines. However, one experienced taster tonight thought this wine was tainted with "cellar funk, not TCA." My #1 and group's FOURTH PLACE tonight. (3678 views)
 Tasted by smahk on 4/16/2012 & rated 92 points: Color: Deep Purple
Nose: Plum, mocha and earth
Taste: Black Cherry, Plum, vanilla and cassis
This was a wonderful youthful tasting wine. Hard to believe it is 20 years old. Well integrated flavors that finish with vanilla/mocha and tanins that linger but to not hang around too long. Excellent wine brought to Ciano NYC for dinner with friends. (2973 views)
 Tasted by short and confused on 1/14/2012 & rated 93 points: Dark purple. Sweet nose with plums notes as well as some earth and cedar. with some time in the glass, there was a distinct (and very pleasing) aroma of fried liver. In the mouth the were some lovely new world red fruits with good complexity and depth. Secondary notes of tobacco and wet earth. Agree with others that the mid palate was a bit lacking. Medium finish. Lovely lovely stuff but not quite as good as a bottle opened 5 years prior. (3196 views)
 Tasted by mclancy10006 on 12/11/2011 & rated 91 points: Dry cork crumbled to dust when pulled. A little funk on the nose with some underlying heat. After 2 hrs in the decanter it came a live. Dark fruit and mushroom. Tasty! (2499 views)
 Tasted by nlassow on 9/25/2011: Started out with not much fruit showing and a touch of menthol. This needs about an hour to really open up and shows off tart pie cherries on the palate. This will improve with some good red meat rather than more cellar time. (2636 views)
 Tasted by tooch on 1/21/2011 & rated 88 points: California Cabernet at Charlie Palmer's (Charlie Palmer's - DC): Bright red fruit on the nose. Fruit was more aggressive in this cuvee than the other Napa cabernets. Really nice warm spice component that combined with a subtle meatiness. I thought this showed quite well, but didn't stand up to some of the others... (3658 views)
 Tasted by gblacave on 1/21/2011 & rated 91 points: 1990s California Cabernet (Charlie Palmer Steak - Washington DC): On the nose this was pretty open with loads of cassis, plum, blackberry, some baking spice, cedar, mocha, tobacco, some sweetness (oak related I think) and a good dose of wet earth. On the palate, the fruit-forwardness came through, but there was good complexity and depth. Red and black berries, with secondary characteristics of cedar, tobacco, mocha coming through with soft tannins and a long finish. My one complaint, which was common throughout the room, was that it lacked alot in the mid-palate. Still a wonderful wine and nice to taste a fully mature Insignia. (3712 views)
 Tasted by tkoby11 on 1/2/2011 & rated 93 points: This was great, though you must decant 2-3 hours to awaken it from its slumber. Tghis blossomed nicely over the course of 4-5 hours, but literally took 2-3 to get into the zone if you will.

Subtle as you would expect from an older cab, this was throwing aromas of plum, pepper, cedar, dried rose petals and fall leaves.

The palate built weight over time as well, gaining strength and complexity over the hours. The tannins are still pretty noticeable and more prevalent then the fruit at first, but they settle in and the fruit amps up. (3266 views)
 Tasted by wallstreet on 11/21/2010: 1992 Napa Cab Retrospective at Alan and Gabi's House. Nice beginning, good mid-palate. Finish non-existent. A disappointment given it's pedigree and label. Most likely over the hill. (3452 views)
 Tasted by km5 on 11/13/2010 & rated 90 points: Funky, past prime, ever revolving through the night, very volatile...by the end it did not hold well for such a high caliber wine. (3276 views)
 Tasted by GalvezGuy on 5/22/2010 & rated 91 points: CellarTracker Texas Offline; 5/21/2010-5/22/2010 (San Antonio): I think that this got lost in the middle of what was going on. It was an outstanding wine, but did not make a big impression on me. Nose of red currant, black fruit, vanilla, hint of mint. On the palate, red currant, blackberry, spicy oak, vanilla, hint of mocha. Finishes smooth but not long. Outstanding (4536 views)
 Tasted by wineismylife on 5/21/2010 & rated 92 points: CellarTracker Texas Offline - Part One (San Antonio, TX): WIML92

Dark garnet color in the glass, clear hue throughout. Nose of rose petals, berries, wet stones, plums and a little cassis. Flavors of plums, berries, a bit of cherries and minerals. Medium acidity, tannins and body. Drink or hold. (4418 views)
 Tasted by amateurwino on 12/5/2009 & rated 91 points: 1990s Insignia Tasting; 12/5/2009-12/6/2009: Initially seemed close to the 91 on the nose (olive, green pepper, hint of menthol), but the 91 gets lusher, sweeter and more complex on the nose; the 92 softens toward coffee. Palate is balanced, but not super complex. Got better as the night wore on, with the pepper and olive elements moderating and the fruit coming out, shifting this to a slightly rounder and more enjoyable balance point. 90-91 (4864 views)
 Tasted by wynnewood500 on 11/27/2009: Enjoyed this wonderful wine with Thanksgiving dinner and all the trimings. Fully resolved tannins. I received lots of compliments for this one. (4482 views)
 Tasted by jajo seattle on 5/9/2009 & rated 90 points: This wine has lost a lot of it's fruit and vibrancy. It still tastes good and has developed some character, but it is clearly on the downhill slope and I recommend drinking up in the near future. (4740 views)
 Tasted by JJL on 2/28/2009 & rated 90 points: Last time I had this was a couple of years ago and it was much better then. Needs an hour to open. Interesting flavors of red raspberry and chocolate. Drink now. (4891 views)
 Tasted by yoviny on 12/31/2008 & rated 92 points: Tasting exclent and holding up very well, blackberry, currant, soft tannin, well balenced and delicate. A wonderful wine. (5188 views)
 Tasted by ggkemp on 11/2/2008 & rated 93 points: Pleasant currant nose. Each taste calls for another. In balance, nice complexity, moderate finish. (4932 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Julia Harding, MW
JancisRobinson.com (10/1/2013)
(Joseph Phelps, Insignia Napa Valley Red) Subscribe to see review text.
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of JancisRobinson.com. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

Joseph Phelps

Producer website

In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.

Nearly four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Twenty nine of 34 vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. From 1990 to 2007, the average score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate is 94.5 pts., with the lowest score still a fabulous 91. The 2002 vintage was “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine, and the 2007 vintage has been rated 98 points by Robert Parker and 96 points by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oakville.

Beginning with the 2009 vintage, estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Backus (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. In addition, a small amount of Syrah is produced from fruit owned by Hyde Vineyards in Los Carneros.

Though the main focus is on Bordeaux varietals, Joe Phelps has had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally Chardonnay was sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Los Carneros. Through the years, however, Joe continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and his search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere eight miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, 200 acres were acquired and planting began. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay are producing some remarkable wines which are available for tasting at the Freestone Guest Center. Visit Freestone Vineyards to learn more.

Red Bordeaux Blend

Read about the grapes used to produce Bordeaux The variety Red Bordeaux Blend in CellarTracker implies any blend using any or all of the five traditional Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. As such, this is used worldwide, whether for wines from Bordeaux, Meritages from California and Canada, some Super-Tuscan wines etc.


Of interest concerning the sources for grapes for this wine:



WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!


California Wines (Wine Institute of California)

California is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world, with almost 100 grape varieties grown in over 100 viticultural areas, including dozens of ­different microclimates and soil types, as well as a very individualistic set of ­winemakers, many with international experience, which adds to and deepens that diversity.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley Wineries and Wine (Napa Valley Vintners) | Article in CellarTracker

Napa Valley

Napa Valley AVA

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