Cork was soft and came out in pieces. A very good insignia but not quite as solid as other older vintages I have had. Needed a an hour to hit its stride and faded after several hours more. Good amount of oak, rich fruit, good balance.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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!!!
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.
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
For a 17+ year old wine this was impeccable. Dark colour. Redolent sweet cassis nose. Obscenely silky entry: cassis, cedar, sweet, seamless tannins. Obvious oak treatment but at this point fruit, oak, acid and tannins are in perfect harmony. Many years ahead of it. Vinous craftsmanship
Brittle cork when it was opened. After some breathing, the wine revealed terrific structure - very Bordeaux-like in character. Aromas of earth, dried herbs, black berries and anise. The palate is full and densely packed with flavors of black currant, cassis, smoke, chocolate, and espresso. Quite amazing with layered complexity, but doesn't match the 1997. Drink now until 2017.
Typical insignia profile with dark red and black fruits with mocha, tobacco and spice. This bottle really benefited from at least 2hrs in the glass as the acidity was somewhat sharp and out of balance initially. Still very youthful with only slight secondary characteristics and moderately firm tannins on the long finish that softened with time. Medium body. Not as concentrated or complex as the best years. Not worth current prices.
Enjoyed this tonight with my wife along with grilled Bryan Flannery steaks, grilled artichokes. The wine has about 10 years left -the color was a deep purple, the aromas typical of Insignia, and the fruit was amazing - lots of berries, cherry, and about a 10 second finish. Would love to try this wine in about 2, 5 and 10 years. An excellent Insignia.
Decidedly youthful. Pop and poured, drank over about 90 minutes. No hint of age in the color. A bit of funk on the nose upon opening, but that blew off. Firm tannins and lots of tartness...though the fruit didn't keep up with the tannins. Has the structure to age longer, no worries there, but don't know how much longer the fruit will hold up to the tannins. I'd decant next time...if I had another...
While its no 1970 Latour, this was definitely showing strong. Dark, dense and powerful, the vibrant dark fruit, cassis and herbs were well integrated. A long finish with soft but lively tannins, this was delicious
Epic Wine Dinner at Bourbon Steak (Washington DC): The wine is a baby. It's a beautiful example of young Napa Cab -- and I'm shocked to learn its 17 years old. The wine opens with fresh blackberry, huge dark fruits, and eucalyptus, with some earth, pencil lead, and wild mountain herbs playing a supporting role. The wine has great structure, soft-but-mouth-coating tannins, and delightful front-of-mouth acidity. Truly exceptional.
Decanted an hour prior to drinking. The nose changed over the course of consuming, from something that more resembled Bordeaux at first to something more like Napa. At the beginning there was some mustiness and earthy notes, which gave way to dark berries and some mild spiciness. On the palate the wine is surprisingly light, with lots of acidity, medium fruit concentration, and mild tannins. There are notes of menthol and blackberries. It is light-bodied and at 13.5% alcohol it doesn't have any "hot" characteristics. Nicely balanced, but could use a little more fruit concentration to hold up for more aging. Tannins were well integrated. Not as complex as I would have hoped, but should continue to age well for 5+ years. A very subtle wine.
A beautiful bottle of wine drinking wonderfully. Shared at Atlas Bistro in Scottsdale with Ogburns and Kirbys along side a '91 Dunn Howell Mtn. and '97 Silver Oak NV. A rich and succulent recipe of dark fruit, smooth tanins with a velvety mouthfeel. While this is driniking as well as you could ever hope it still have 5+ years in it. A great wine on a great evening.
Cassis, licorice, herbs, truffle, blackberry, tobacco and earthy aromas lead to a balanced, fresh, round style of California Sauvignon that ends with soft, ripe, layers of blackberry and cherry. This is drinking great today.
From magnum. Having recently had a 91 Insignia that was tired at best, I was completely taken by surprise at this wine's youthfulness, depth, layered nuances and balance. Served blind I guessed the vintage correctly but thought this was Mouton instead of Insignia. It is a dead ringer for that wine. Gorgeous, polished, deep red and black fruit, lead pencil, touch of tobacco/leather, black olive and a pronounced minty note. Very youthful, packed palate with more black fruit, minerals, baker's chocolate. Amazingly deep, with superb balance and integration to a fine, long finish. A very special wine and about 180 degrees from the 91 we opened just a few weeks ago.
Dark, purple color that does not show a hint of its 15 years in the bottle. The nose was powerful with cassis, plums, spice, and violets. The palate is complete with ripe fruit, spice, licorice, and violets. Since the blend added layers of complxity, the Insignia's profile was slightly more impressive than the 95 Arrowood Reserve, but both wines were phenominal. Structurally, the mouthfeel is full-bodied and plush with balanced acidity and polished tannins. The finish coated the palate with an ocean of fruit and spice. Overall, this was excellent because of its vibrant fruit, plush mouthfeel, and layered palate. It should be considered one of the best wines made in 1995.
A fantastic and still vibrantly youthful, pure example of California fruit, this '95 Insignia matched any prior bottle of the amazing '94. A wonderful, still jammy attack led to a well-stuffed mid-palate that possessed ample secondary notes (spice, saddle leather) and really distinguished this wine from the sea of very good but incredibly uniform-tasting California CS and blends that have been produced over the last 20 years. The finish was deep and long, and the overall impression left behind was richness with supple balance. This was a perfect complement to Julia Child's Beef Burgundy.
Tasted alongside Pichon Lalande 1995 with Lamb Loin sauteed in hazelnut oil, this was a near profound wine. Rich cabernet fruit, brilliant texture, "Rutherford dust", gorgeaus aromatics. A very stunning wine that is clearly in a wonderful place but bottles in this condition will continue to develop positively. A finer pairing of Fr and US 95's that at the start fo the year with the Mouton and Araujo.
Tasted non blind at an offline. Double decanted and left cork out for four hours before serving.
Dark garnet color in the glass, clear looking throughout. nose of underbrush, dried herbs, a bit of berry and a bit of lavender. Flavors of berries, currants and plums. Medium acidity, medium to firm tannins, full boded. Drink or hold.
At first whiff the wine smelled a tiny bit corky but not enough to notably mute the nose and palate. However, withholding a rating just to be safe.
CT Wisconsin Offline (Madison, WI): On the nose I got sweet dark berries, a little green/earthiness on the nose, a slight black tea component. The palate was smooth and packed with nice berries and plums. Nice dry tannins and a lovely finish.
Decanted. The nose was initially fairly expressive, showing some plum, dark berries, hints of oak resolved tannins and a medium plus finish. Smooth and perfectly drinkable. After about three hours, it did begin to fade a bit, with the nose and palate becoming somewhat muted 92
opened for an hour, then decanted through aerator and left for a second hour. perfectly balanced with pencil lead, soft tannins, and blackberry fruit. was still rising about two and a half hours after opening and can't hlpe but wish i had given it more time in the decanter. no signs of fading, but no reason to wait.
Commanderie Pre-Dinner (Restaurant Vincent, Minneapolis): Double decanted approximately 4 hours before tasting; started out profound and seemed to fade a bit by the time we drank it. Rich and intensely flavored, showing plummy fruit, anise/licorice, baking spices, and dark chocolate. Long finish. Delicious, but outclassed by the '78 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill.
opened for a steak dinner, this was really disjointed at first and dominated by oak and tannin. I decanted this about 5 hours before tastiing it, and only drank a bit then left it-on day 2 it was vastly improved, showing me the telltale Insignia characteristics-a rich, smooth wine with blackberry, dark chocolate, cassis and a very long lingering aftertaste that just stayed with me... can't imagine this getting any better than it is now.
2 hrs in decanter. we drank it after a very good Paul Hobbs malbec (Cobos) which was super. This was great and balanced in te nose upon opening bu it fell flat when we poured, nose closed a bit and on the palate you tasted good fruit but something was missing. maybe it closed in between and needed more time to open up?? W'll get to try again soon I think. this should live for quite some more time normally. hope it was somewhat off-bottle
Wow, was this great! Initially when it was decanted from a magnum and tasted, it was very tight. It was slowly decanted from one decanter to another five or six times. It opened up and was pretty darn good! It had lots of red berries, tobacco, a bit of licorice, cedar and silky tannins. Great balance and mouthfeel from start to finish. You have plenty of time for this one.
A beautiful wine. The fruit remains strong as the first impression but the earthy finish was to die for. I've always loved the mid-90's Insignias and this one was no different. Going amazingly strong with years and years of life ahead. Merry Christmas!
Wow, what a great wine. Rich dark fruit, some coffee, a hint of chocolate and a little smoke and earth, perfectly balanced, long finish. this is everything you'd want from a wine. Drink it either alone or with food.
Essentially pop and pour. Excellent nose, lots of berries with just a hint of smoke/oak. This is a very smooth wine now, no harsh tannins and not overdone. There is still a fair amount of fruit here, but certainly not a fruit "bomb". Just a very pleasant drinking wine, with or without food. Enjoyed it very much. Not sure holding it any longer will have any benefits. Drink now and enjoy. Wish I had another.
Magnum. See my prior review for the 750ml bottle, note that the smaller bottle was not as good. Cork was intact with almost no intrusion. Decanted, filtered, minimal sediment. Opened some in the glass over drinking period, but I do not recommend an extended airing. Drank over 2 hours. Deep purple color. Nose of dark fruit, medium alcohol. Tannins fully integrated. Silky mouthfeel. Very well balanced on the palate with the expected Cali-blend taste of fine Cabernet fruit and just a hint of old-world left bank style. For this reason and my note that the 750 ml bottle was declining I believe this wine in the magnum is just past its peak and it is time to drink up. It will not get any better with age; if it loses any (more?) of its grape structure it may be thin on the palate. This is a $400+ bottle of wine in the magnum format....I've had it a long time in the cellar, and figured it was time, no regret for pulling this cork now. It compares quite well to some other aged Cali cab based blends on the cult side, but is a bit overpriced, likely due to its reputation as a "go to" high end selection. Insignia is dependable, that's for sure but it is priced a bit high.
very impressive. Aging beautifully. Simply georgeous with a very complex nose and palate. FInish for miles. Easy to drink but lots to pay attention too. Some medicinal, but very minor compared to other bif california reds. This wine lives up to the billing and is going to be more in line with old world drinkers than some other huge cali cult wines (and much better priced).
Strong showing but this has been cellared at 55 degrees since release. This wine is clearly at it's peak and there is no reason to continue to hold this wine. I plan on drinking the rest of my bottles over the next 4 years. I see no real faults in this wine other than lacking a little complexity.
Cork was slightly easy to pull out. Dense purple/ruby - not showing too much in the way of age. On first opening, the wine displayed dense plums, earth and cedar - classic Napa cabernet. Stunning wine in the mouth - liqueur-like intensity and wonderful length - this has great sweetness. Eucalypt and fennel seed - herbal in a gorgeous way. Tremendous balance - exceptional wine making. A great Napa wine in a very new world style - this would not be confused with bordeaux! It misses out in the end because there is not that extra dimension that one gets in profound wine, even taking into consideration the perfect balance. The wine held ll night at a very high level - a pleasure to drink. This wine is great now.
Overall a bit disappointing. The nose was quite lovely: cassis, cedar, vanilla, smoke and a touch of cinnamon. Palate was where things did not quite come together. Considering the year and quality of the vintner, I would not expect this wine to be past its peak. But alas, I think it is. The fruit was simply not there as it should be. The wine seemed to lack structure, and tasted a bit flabby. Still outstanding by almost any measure, just not (or at least no longer) extraordinary.
Mouth filling flavor of cassis and blackberries, a hint of tar. Soft and not showing much tannin. Comments from people at table -- "Love it!" and one person noticed a maple syrup element, but that was subtle. I'm glad I drank this now, think maybe it's hit its peak.
This wine was very slightly corked but drinkable and enjoyable. Last bottle of this wine I had 2 years ago was totally corked. Problem at the winery? Bright intense colour. Quite complex nose of red fruit, cedar and leather, very St. Julien. Tannins present but well integrated. Long finish.
Tasted January 13, 2010 at an offline. Dark garnet to purple color in the glass, clear hue throughout. Slightly subdued nose (could've used more air) of roses, leather, talc, plum and berries. Flavors of plums, berries and cherries. Medium acidity, tannins and body. Drink or hold?
Nice youthful color, a bit closed and shut down in the first hour.. Then wine opened with a red berry, lead pencil, sage and Napa dust bouquet.. This wine possessed a very long sweet finish that was very fruit driven. The balance was good..
Dark red core, slight lightening at the rim. Rich forward nose of cassis, plums, nints of cedar, tar, and floral notes. Medium-full body, ripe plush fruits, some Bordeaux-like aged notes of sweet tea and cedar, very nice balance, mostly resolved tannins, medium finish, not as big as a few years ago but still drinking very well, excellent.
Kevin & Margaret's Thanksgiving Dinner (Their House, Hong Kong): Deep blood red semi-transparent colour. Pure nose of Pauillac that is very remniscennt of Pichon Lalande. Palate is a real disappointment because it's just acidity and milk chocolate and surprisingly linear and surprisingly hot and acidic on the finish. I suspect this must have suffered from poor storage at some stage but I note that a lot of other CTers have had the same experience so maybe something went wrong with the bottling that year because there seems to be two distinctly different Insignia 1995s out there.
Perfumey floral bouquet of dark fruit, dark purple in color with finer sweet tannins. Maybe a little too sweet? Aerated for only 20 minutes but seemed to drink the same 3 hrs later. Fair amount of sediment at bottom of bottle as would be expected by now. I was more impressed by this wine in Nov. 1999 than now, but received rave comments from others present this time.
Decanted for about a 1/2 hour. On the nose wonderful aromas of black fruits, cedar and hints of tobacco. On the palate the same with hints of chocolate. The tannins were silky smooth and the finish was as memorable as any. Gorgeous wine. Drinking wonderfully right now.
Concentrated and purple, the color and nose would lead one to believe they are about to have a wonderful experience. However, the palate is unbalanced with dark fruit separating out from the relatively firm tannins in a borderline unpleasant manner for a wine of this heritage. The acidity and tannins were not in balance either. This wine did benefit from about an hour of aeration. I don't think that it will benefit from any additional cellaring either.
Beautiful complex nose on opening, smelling fresh but also with complex secondary notes. Palate did not live up to the nose, with the finish still being tannic but astringent, with a hole in the midpalate. Continued to harden with opening. This bottle had less than ideal storage, and likely suffered from this.
This is a 13 year old Napa Cab that truly evolved aromatically. The nose is incredibly appealing, offering a complex array of aromas. Leather, smoke and earth lace the fruitful core. It is an absolute pleasure to smell. In the palate, though, time has affected it adversely. It has lost density and weight, and the full midpalate it exhibitted when young falters now. This wine exhibits the weight of a 20 year Bordeaux. Tannin is not as evident as in its youth, but is still present, exhibitting a dusty quality. The finish is very long and pleasant. For the nose, this merits 96 points. For the palate, it only gets 88 points.
This was paired with a Fois Gras terrine and a steak au poivre.
Drinking window seems to be right in the wheelhouse at the moment with a possibility to improve just a bit more as the tannin stood out just a hair. A bit light on the mid palate but overall a nice drink. But IMO, inferior to the lush, rich 97.
I proposed to her on 11/11 at 11:11 in 1994. We got married the following year March 11, 1995. Not sure what it is about 11s but I'll never forget the day I proposed. So today, a 1995 Insignia to celebrate the occasion. I was blown away by the condition of this wine. No telltale signs of age but rather a dense, deep purple wine. It possessed a nose of dark fruit with hints of smoke, toast, pencil lead. Under any other circumstances I would expected this to be bordeaux. Palate of smooth sweet tannins, dark berries, pencil lead. Nothing but pure pleasure.
Looking into the glass there is only a slight bricking of the wine...but you have to look for it to really notice it. Scents of black fruits, leather, and slight pencil shavings could lead one to believe this was in fact from Bordeaux. Underneath it all there is a light hint of cinnamon that can be caught in a trail at the end. In the mouth this is everything that people love about California Cabernet based wines...it's plush, full, round, and offers such wonderful focus as flavors of black & blue fruits lead into a symphony of bakers chocolate, graphite, and intense minerality. An absolutely outstanding wine...
Decanted for 90 mins and put back in bottle for another 60. This wine still has loads of fruit and tannin. Improved significantly in the glass, so if i had another bottle, would let breath for at least 3 hours.
Pulled this out, dusted it off and pulled the cork (cork was in excellent shape), allowed it to sit upright for 2 hours then decanted. Medium body, medium finish nice complexity. Cedar, black currant, white pepper, chocolate, tobacco, and berries (no tar for me) on the nose and palate. This had the stuffing to easily go for another 5 years or so. It should gain in complexity and garner another point or two 92-94.
This was a wonderful wine. Dark, no sign of age visually. The nose was exeptionally leathery, tar, tobacco...wonderful. In the mouth, very well-balanced with substantial sweet fruit with notes of tobacco and cedar. The smooth tannins were evident. Classic CA CS in traditional Insignia style. Not all all heavy or over-extracted. Terrific wine showing well now, but not remotely on the down side. Glad we have a few left.
Tasted along with 2 other greats from 1995: Beringer Private Reserve Cab and Peter Michael "les Pavots". The Insignia was dark red in the glass with not much sign of aging. The nose was alluring fruit and wood spices. On the palate, the wine showed excellent intensity and seemed quite youthful. Black fruits dominate, along with vanilla and a bit of anise. The wine had medium body, not quite as velvety in texture as the Beringer. The finish was good, but didn't show much nuance. A fairly classic Insignia with plenty of aging potential from here.
Still a baby with no sign of age. Dark and dense. Intense but primary. Fruit driven palete finishing with mouth drying tanins underneath the oak. There is a lot of stuffing here and this wine needs either a lot of air or more years inthe bottle.
Beautiful bottle Great nose of dark fruit, licorice, spices. Great mouthfeel. Excellent fullness, great balance. nice long finnish. The group was divided over this bottle or the 1994 Pahlmeyer which were tasted side by side. This was a little more evolved of the two
Thirty Years of Phelps Insignia (1974 through 2004): A nice nose of mainly dark fruit with a hint of VA/paint thinner that blew off in time. Very impressive on the palate with concentrated dark fruit and a heavier/oakier personality. Perfect balance. Very tannic. Should develop nicely with additional bottle age.
Drinking beautifully. Loads of dark fruit and cassis on the nose. The palate has really opened up since up a couple of years ago. A little sweet but with a gorgeous core of Cabernet. Classy and tasty CalCab.
Perfectly mature Cali blend and the complexity is now in full force. Notes of cherry, blackberry, leather, tobacco and a bit of mint. The tannins have almost completely integrated making for a very smooth Bordeaux like bottle.
Just loved this wine. one of the best I've every had. Seriously, we put it up against some big tallent. And while I love the French this wine kicked their butts. Some of our Franco file friends wouldn't admit it, but that's OK.
Well, the last sample I had of this wine must have been an aberration. This bottle was singing. Expressive nose of cassis, chocolate, and damp earth. Silky smooth on the palate with a wonderfully lengthy finish. Hints of tabacco leaf and smoke accented the ripe, fleshy fruit. A great cross of youthful fruit and aged complexity.
This wine was excellent. Great nose of casis , chocolate and very rich texture smooth and velvety with great balance. Incredible fruit with great structure and depth. Nice 45 second finnish. This is a wine that shows great right now and delivers all the pleasure expected!
1995 California Cabernet Horizontal (Mercy, mercy, mercy.) (Ruth's Chris.): 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 3 % Petit Verdot. I liked the '95 Insignia a smidge more than the '94 on release, but find that the '94 shows a little better today. Shows the thickest and richest mouthfeel of the evening with good levels of fruit and creamy oak that lacks the severe bite of many of the wines tonight. That said, it finishes with a touch too much of an alcohol burn, so I'd drink now. No real complexity, but there's a dearth of that tonight. Enjoy it for the fruit it has now. A-/B+.
Just a fabulous bottle of wine. It still has the vibrancy of youth, yet continues to develop secondary nuance. Smoky and sultry, at its heart is a deep, dense core of layered sweet California fruit, although it is the breadth and not the depth that is special here. Exhibits world class concentration and delination. Finishes like a champ. Stellar.
96 lynnch bages vs 96 penfolds bin 707 vs 95 insignia..no losers in the bunch. Around the world theme . Similar vegative nose. Insignia was #1 at the table. Lynch the classic and the penfolds was just very good
Birthday bash part III, Tanglewood Santana Row! Insignias are always just great, especially the mid-90s. This bottle seemed really shy and subdued at first, but opened the Kimono as it warmed up in the glass. Loads of licoricey cherry and asphalt/graphite elements. Silky and seamless on the palate. This could be a newly released wine it is so youthful. Not a huge boisterous monster, but a class act nonetheless.
from memory last week with dinner, along with a '95 dalla valle. similar to last tasting, this wine is ready to go, and is drinking very well, with a softer, fruit forward style compared to the dalla valle, which had more concentration and structure, but probably needed more time. A-
Tasted unblinded from the Vintage Wines, Ltd. ("killer") wine bar. Bright disc. Youthful appearance, with a deep ruby robe and red rim. Clean nose, showing moderately intense aromas of vanilla, black fruits and Asian spices. Full-bodied on the palate, with low acidity, big ripe tannins and similar flavors as for the nose. The vanilla/oak component is a bit too dominant at this point. Long, smooth finish.
Drank after 1 hour of decanting. Coffee, vanilla and licorice. Impact mostly in the front, middle was slightly subdued in comparison but finish was long. Rich and chewy. A nice wine overall. Opened with a '92 Beringer Private Reserve which was more accessible but everyone thought both were good and represented different styles.
Uncle Ging's Wine tasting. This is the most awful wine I have ever tasted. Crushed rock and tabbaco are not flavors or smells I like. I've had so many other Insignia's that I absolutely love. This one is pure crap.
Cab Lovers of NYC Insignia Vertical (Zoe): The first WOW wine of the tasting. Deep, dark and brooding. The fruit jumps out of the glass here-very California. Young and vibrant, this one had a dense, complex core of fruit (blueberry, blackberry), as well as secondary notes of cedar and tobacco. If I had to pick a hole in this one it is that the finish wasn't as extraordinary as the rest of the experience. Still, a phenomenal wine. Drink now, drink later. Tied for WOTF. WOTN.
with a 95 la jota anniversary last night. big, ripe, rich wine with plenty of fruit and oak, and a great finish. really singing right now. although it may not have the structure of the la jota, it is great to drink right now. A
Great match with lamb to kick off spring break. Didn't decant...but after two hours, the aromas really came together. Black currants, cocoa, carmel, green peppers...very appealing nose. Palate was balanced, but medium bodied. Decent finish of 30-45 seconds. Struck me as a little more Bordeaux-like early on than other Insignia's we've had. Not quite as complete as the '94...but still very enjoyable.
A little disappointing. Very different from the '94, thin in the middle, medium bodied. Not at all a fruit bomb like the '94. It took two hours for the tannins to settle down. Creamy with tons of licorice. Very Bordeaux-like wine.
There was deffinitely a hint of coffee at the start, maybe mocha java, along with familiar Insignia aromas of black cherries, currants and cedar. The wine was still very dense with an inky purple color. The first taste showed the pure fruit that I love about great Insignias. Tannins were definitely quite present, but supple and controlled resulting in a silky mouthfeel. Oak is well integrated and pleasant and not at all overbearing. Over a decade old now, this wine is still young and vibrant. The finish lasts and lasts and there is still fruit, tanin and acidity present, which along with the density and structure of the wine, makes me believe that the best may be yet to come. If the tanins continue to integrate and soften, this wine could be even better down the road. I give it at least a 96 right now.
My first '95 Insignia. Still plenty of purple in the color. The nose on this wine was amazing! Dark, rich, lush - hints of chocolate, cocoa, plum. Some spice - cedar? On the palate, this is still a youthful wine. While not a "new" wine, it is surprisingly fresh (given the other wines we opened tonight - '95 Opus One and '99 Spottswoode). Some tea, tobacco, red fruits, sweet tannins, and great balance. This was really, really awesome!
Medium ruby red with the faintest hint of garnet near the edges. On the nose, initially quite subdued, with classic Cabernet notes of Cuban tobacco, damp earth, and leather just beginning to emerge. In the mouth, this initially showed slightly agressive tannins, although the sheer flavor intensity and volume buffered this to some extent. With about a half hour of air, however, all of the elements came into play and balance, with the tannins (still present) integrating beautifully with a gradually expanding creme de cassis mouthfeel. The wine never showed as flamboyant and remained somewhat reserved on the nose and palate, but the creamy cassis mouthfeel actually reminded me a bit of some vintages of Leoville las Cases (especially the 1982, where tasters mentioned a reserved and only partially evolved nose and palate). This extremely fine, aristocratic, creamy character seems to leave some people unimpressed (whether here or in the LLC), but this Bordeaux-like wine is top shelf in my opinion. The tannins were a bit more troubling to some other tasters, so I think this vin de garde will be close to its peak in another five years.
Tasting for newbies: Old World vs. New World (San Marcos, TX): Very dark ruby color. At first the nose was reticent and giving little. With about an hour and a half, the wine started showing its stuffing. Gorgeous and layered nose of coffee, black currant and chocolaty mocha. Full bodied with awesome texture and a great finish, this wine improved all night long. this wine is already developing aromatic complexity while retaing a lot of its fruit intensity. It was great with food. Group Points: 26 (second group favorite).
Phelps Insignia Vertical 15+ Years: Veritcal tasting. Black fruit on nose with just traces of spice. Still somewhat backward with lots of dry slightly roasted fruit, I think this is still really picking up weight and complexity. Very finish with good spice.
At tasting. Was wonderful, but, did not knock our socks off as with past two bottles. Did not seem tired, but certainly drinking well right now. Great balance, smooth tannins. Classic CS, with Bordeaux features of lead pencil, cassis, and darker fruit almost chocolate overtones. This was a blind tasting with multiple CA grapes, and many but were reminded of a merlot.
Nice. Bursting with cassis upon opening and then lots of rich, chocolate and fruit, cocoa dusted plums, a bit of blood, ripe, sweet on the mid-palate, yet finishing out with a nice mouthful of dusty tannins.
Labor Day Weekend Brunch at Essex (Essex Restaurant (New York, NY)): It is difficult to tell whether our tastebuds were responding to our expectations or to the actual juice. However, the Insignia showed good plumminess albeit less extracted fruit than we had anticipated. In fact, it was surprisingly tame. This may have been due to a storage mishap the day before. Nonetheless, the finish was strong and smooth and the wine complemented our burgers very well.
Not decanted; moderate sediment. Extended Fathers Day dinner of grilled ribeye. Deep ruby color, with the slightest tough of lightening at the rim. Wonderful balance and mouthfeel; deep, rich flavors of cedar, lead pencil, red fruits, and tobacco. Loads of structure; held up well over a 3+ hour dinner. The tannins seem pretty well resolved. Drinking well now; potential upside over the next few years.
My friend brought this to dinner at Montparnasse in NYC and said it was singing. Man, was he ever right. A bravura performance, with all components parts in expressive harmony right now. A gorgeous bouquet and lots of showy fruit on the palate. Soft plush mouthfeel, with tannins barely lurking in the background. Did not even need decanting. Seems to be at its absolute apex. Drink now.
Pure cab deliciousness. Plenty of fruit, now very well integrated. Quite supple but with a firm backbone that still let you know who you were talking to. I really enjoyed this. It was great to try this, I wish I had some in the cellar. It's showing very well right now so there is certainly no harm at all in cracking this anytime. Terrific. 93 points.
Dark ruby/black colour to ruby rim. Aromas of coffee, earth, black licorice, eucalyptus. Medium-full bodied with red licorice, black plums, pepper, spice, leather. Moderate-long finish, 40s, with blackberry notes.
Great cassis, vanilla and clove nose. Inviting. Lush soft palate of blackberries, blueberries, cedar, olive, a touch of green pepper, and a touch short on the finish. this felt a little tired tonite, but still excellent. reminded me a ton of the 95 Dominus. Very good.
Dinner at Lampreia. Upon opening this wine at home the nose exploded with a huge burst of cassis. I poured the wine back into the bottle and sealed it up to head to the restaurant. Upon decanting again, the wine had already tightened up and was initially much more reticent. With some coaxing the nose showed copious notes of smoky cassis with mint, charcoal, and mineral. It was dark and brooding. The palate was similarly intense, initially quite stern but ultimately yielding a bit to show quintessential Napa Cabernet with a powerful yet taut core of cassis, mint and a surprising amount of mineral. This wine is loaded with intensity, yet it is still bound up amidst a huge amount of structure. I would wait 2-3 years before popping another cork.
The nose seems closed with only an element of vanilla showing through. The palate is dark and sweet but a touch short. There are strong tannins on the finish. It will be interesting to see if there is fruit to match over time.
Seattle Tasting Group does 22 years of Phelps Insignia (Bellevue, WA, USA): On the nose there is a hint of VA with a very mineral rich character. Wow, the palate is very pure with screaming cassis and a very black, brooding element behind the fruit. This is very nicely balanced with stunning, tooth-coating tannins, so dusty, silky and persistent. Amidst the 1994, 1996 and 1997 this stood out for having the best structure.
Sampled at a Mexico City off-line with Pelochain and gusbo featuring a blind tasting of '95 Napa cabs (others were Caymus SS, Opus One, and Silver Oak Alex). The darkest and densest wine on the table. Smooth and soft, with a chunky core of black raspberry, vanilla, and earth. Well-balanced, with tannins that seem fully integrated. Seemed like it had more fruit than structure at this point in its life cycle. Perhaps nearing its peak.
This Bordeaux-Medoc style blend has a wonderful deep dark purple/red opaque color. Beautiful nose of crushed ripe grapes, and creme de casis. Almost tactile aromas of roasted nuts and coffee beans. Very ripe and very tasty. The wine is already slippery, but the tannins are still very strong and lively. Very sweet, dry, thick and unctuous. Brother used the descriptor of a slow burn, which is an interesting description, one in which I would add to his credit.
($110) The First Big DFW Tasting, Casa Vineyard: Delicious stuff, as were all the Insignias. Chocolate cherry milkshakes that are low in acid, ripe, concentrated and very supple. Aimed at a wide audience and succeeding. DFW Tasting.