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Community Tasting Notes (average 194 notes) - and median of 94 pts. in hiding notes with no text
| ||Tasted by mdstone23 on 6/5/2015 & rated 93 points: Very good wine. Drank smoothly right after opening with slight improvement after decanting for about 30 minutes. Ready to drink now but will last a few more years. (587 views)|
| ||Tasted by RJurman on 5/1/2015 & rated 95 points: Elegant. In my opinion, near perfect at this stage. A quick table decant at a steak house and this did not disappoint. We were a party of 4, and fortunately for us, 2 were drinking beer. Their loss. Enjoyed over a 3 hour period and savored to the last sip. I will be buying a few of these (939 views)|
| ||Tasted by rocknroller on 4/23/2015 & rated 95 points: A Decadent Night of 1990's Napa Cabs and Bordeaux (Chez Dalluge, MN): Very dark red color, no bricking. Slow-O for 45 minutes with no decant; drank 1 glass over 3 hours. Great nose, very similar to the '95 montelena, earth, perfume, but richer and darker black fruits. The palate shines with layers of black and blue fruits; deep and concentrated without being overtly heavy, despite the glycerin; deep blackberry, blackberry liqueur, cassis, spices, pepper, some wood, and a full bodied richness that coasts into a long finish ( just a bit of heat at times). Classy and gorgeous, with a bit of savoriness on the lengthy finish. I loved this. 95+pts. (1183 views)|
| ||Tasted by chablis28 on 4/23/2015 & rated 95 points: This was flighted with a 95 Montelena. What a great flight. I found it very difficult to rank one of these better than the other. I liked the structure of the Montelena and the accessibility of the Insignia. Maybe a slight edge to the Insignia for its more friendly temperament tonight? Both lovely and both would do well blind in a high end BDX tasting. Both wines evolved and changed significantly from the first pour but especially the Insignia. (1048 views)|
| ||Tasted by MichielV on 3/28/2015 & rated 91 points: Toms Bday at H Club: To compare aging between Bdx and Cali Cabs: Next to 95s from Comtesse Pichon, Pichon Baron and Leoville Barton. This was super good, great bricked color, super flavorful nose and on palate just great elegance and lots going on. Not powerful but compared to the others it was most talkative. Yummy wine and better than what I tasted last time. (1333 views)|
| ||Tasted by fournet on 3/13/2015 & rated 93 points: Very youthful. Tannins still evident, through the finish. Very nice. (1180 views)|
| ||Tasted by MC2 Wines on 1/17/2015: 90's Cali Cab and the Kitchen Sink (Ursino in Union, NJ): The first taste of this was probably my wine of the night. It was decanted for maybe 30 minutes before pouring. Suspect the decant was a good idea, but would be careful on timing as the wine did slow down through the night. Initially just beautiful - great blackberry fruit, amazing spice characteristics, a bit of licorice. Just fantastic. Exactly what I love in older Napa cabs. With some time that shifted more to current and then more to stewed fruit and just held together a bit less well. Drink up. (1702 views)|
| ||Tasted by Shapnyc on 1/1/2015 & rated 97 points: This opened immediately and drank like silken cherries. Served it with a perfect prime steak and let me tell you it was a remarkable experience. We were all smacking our lips out loud and oohing and ahhing. This was a stunning bottle. (1650 views)|
| ||Tasted by webbaker on 12/31/2014 & rated 96 points: I needed something special tonight, so 1995 Phelps Insignia it is. Into the decanter at 7:35 AM. Cork in perfect condition. Fairly large amount of fine sediment. Whiff of tobacco on the initial nose. Initial tasting after 8 hours in the decanter, then consumed over the nest 24. Strong aromatics, menthol and eucalyptus. No sign of burning out. Soft tannins. Not a fruit bomb by any stretch. Classic old wine taste without that old musty and wet leather taste. (1750 views)|
| ||Tasted by mdipietro on 8/31/2014: Color is excellent, looks fresh|
Nose is awesome
Still bright, very good fruit and tannins are present
Incredible, can likely go many more years
Thought I needed to open it now but should have waited (3281 views)
| ||Tasted by adnielsen on 8/24/2014 & rated 87 points: Bottle @ Doodler. Fair amount of leather, cola, and tobacco in the nose. Fairly tannic. A bit toasty. Mild chocolate, plums, and figs. Pretty delicious. (3122 views)|
| ||Tasted by Rickfor on 8/7/2014 & rated 93 points: - Garnet color. (2783 views)|
| ||Tasted by Shapnyc on 5/30/2014 & rated 94 points: stunner (386 views)|
| ||Tasted by redwiner on 4/19/2014 & rated 93 points: Excellent aged Napa CS. Had everything going for it. I would not hold any longer. Drank too long ago to provide proper details. (3806 views)|
| ||Tasted by plitton on 3/29/2014 & rated 94 points: Love the Bordeaux styling. Some olives and cedar yet still holding onto some youthfulness. At 19, I think this will continue to mature nicely to 2020. (4088 views)|
| ||Tasted by JonnyG on 11/26/2013 & rated 95 points: A restrained and balanced beauty, in perfect balance, with no hard edges. Layers of lush fruit, fine acidity and sweet tannins, through to a very long finish. (4640 views)|
| ||Tasted by La Cave d'Argent on 9/27/2013 & rated 95 points: Tasting wines in double-blind fashion is very educational and sometimes can be validating (although it is more often humbling). This opaque red/garnet wine (a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot) flaunts a beautiful nose of fig, cocoa, currants and Asian spices. Full-bodied, round and softly tannic at this point, it is very supple on the palate and has flavors which mirror the nose. The alcohol (listed as 13.5%) is nicely integrated and the middle palate is solid. With a finish which seems to last forever, this is one which will make current bottle owners very happy over the next 5-7 years. I'm pleased to say that I made an educated guess which was quite close to identifying both the wine and the vintage. Even if you are not concentrating to that extent, you will love this wine! Drink now-2020. (5091 views)|
| ||Tasted by gew71walsh on 9/19/2013 & rated 95 points: My WOTN. Deep color, great balance. Smooth tannins in the Insignia style, with a velvety finish. Still drinking well and has a few more years left. This vintage has a higher concentration of Cab Sauv than other vintages, and it will continue to evolve. Love to taste again in a few years. (4711 views)|
| ||Tasted by Exonian on 9/1/2013 & rated 95 points: The cork broke on opening, but was otherwise perfect. This wine is now a deep garnet , with a fading rim, and impressive legs. The nose is pronounced and amazingly complex, yet so fresh. There is cassis, blackberry jam ,cedar, menthol, bay/rosemary, anise, spice, liqourice, cherries, a hint of salty minerality, and the occasional waft of tea rose florality. The palate is chewy with flavours of cooked plummy fruits, blackberry jam, coffee, and chocolate. On first opening , the acidity was medium plus, but calmed down to medium after an hour or so. Tannins are well integrated , and the 13.5 per cent alcohol is lightly worn , on the silky mouthfeel. This wine seemed in a perfect place - elegant, complex, smooth, and refreshing , yet still exhibiting hints of youthfulness. Built for the long haul, in a classic Bordeaux style, this is California Cab at its best. I' m looking forward to tasting my remaining two bottles of this vintage over the next 5 - 8 years. Went perfectly with wild venison steaks, served with a port and blackberry sauce ( our own blackberry jam and wild blackberries from the garden) (4186 views)|
| ||Tasted by email@example.com on 6/25/2013 & rated 94 points: Brown Bag Wine Dinner at Two Chefs; 6/25/2013-6/26/2013: The wine looks Garnet colored. The legs are Slow. It smells like Blackberry, Black currant (cassis), Cedar, and Violet. The body is Full. The wine has Bright texture. The wine finishes Long. Al's Insignia. thank You Al!!! (4757 views)|
| ||Tasted by KVM on 6/10/2013 & rated 94 points: Med dark red. Lead pencil, cedar, black currant nose says "Bordeaux". In the mouth there is also something lighter - like red currant jelly. Some silkiness and red fruit on the long finish. Elegant and excellent. (3546 views)|
| ||Tasted by jeffm_fla on 4/24/2013 & rated 92 points: Good to very good. The fruit has died down, but still had that distinctive Insignia flavor profile. Balanced and a pleasure to drink. (3654 views)|
| ||Tasted by howardn on 4/21/2013 & rated 93 points: Drinking beautifully!! Everything Insignia is supposed to be. (3485 views)|
| ||Tasted by rockyal on 1/19/2013 & rated 93 points: The cork crumbled at the base but the wine was filtered and tasted fine. Tannins are soft, color is dark, fruit is black, medium body. Hints of cedar and oak. Ready to drink now. (4449 views)|
| ||Tasted by Mr T on 1/8/2013: Lovely mature Cali Cab PNP at in laws club after hellish drive with the older kids through a snowstorm on the day after Xmas. This was easily the highlight of my evening in all respects. DrEdwardo sums the wine up perfectly and I might even give it one additional point just for the elegance. Not a blockbuster at this point, but wonderful full fruit and tannins fully resolved and the oak integrated. My brother in law and I polished this one off efforlessly. Fortunately the rest of the family stuck to their normal white wines. Would gladly buy this wine again at a fair price (3904 views)|
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NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of JancisRobinson.com and Vinous and Vintage Tastings. (manage subscription channels)
|By Jancis Robinson, MW|
(Joseph Phelps, Insignia California Red) Subscribe to see review text.
|By Stephen Tanzer|
Vinous, November/December 1998, IWC Issue #81
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley) Subscribe to see review text.
|By Stephen Tanzer|
Vinous, May/June 1998, IWC Issue #78
(Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley) Subscribe to see review text.
|By John Kapon|
Vintage Tastings, Cali Cabs Then and Somewhat Now plus Top 100 Weekend Teaser (4/10/2005)
(Joseph Phelps Insignia) The next flight began with a wine which had a shy nose, more on the alcohol and cedar side, a touch spiny with hints of anise, vanilla extract and some member of the cinnamon spice family. The wine was a little buttery on the palate with edges of cassis in its rich, supple profile. The wine was very tasty, smooth and with decent length. It did give me the impression of being a wine at its peak, though 94 points
|By John Kapon|
Vintage Tastings, A Double Dose of Angry Man Action (3/7/2005)
(Joseph Phelps Insignia.) The wine held its own, although it gave an Aussie impression to some while Ray was on a Tertre Roteboeuf kick. .Harlan?. I wrote. The wine was milky, satiny and long, garage-ish but Cali Cab I was righteously convinced. Big boy came up with the big guess of .Insignia. and noted its .banana and dill,. although Mike said it was .too sexy for Cali,. but I am not sure what he meant. There were meaty, blue fruits to this outstanding wine that I honestly thought was Harlan 95 points
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.
InsigniaOf interest concerning the sources for grapes for this wine:
USA WineAmerica (National Association of American Wineries) | Free the Grapes!
California 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