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Joseph Phelps Insignia 2010
History of Insignia: "In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, just outside of St. Helena, and began planting vineyards and building a winery. The winery construction was completed in 1974 and that same year the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first vintage of Insignia was produced." "Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, first from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Insignia is a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine crafted from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards: Spring Valley Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley. Nearly forty years after the inaugural vintage, Insignia is recognized as one of the world's great wines." - Winery Winemaking: "When Joe Phelps founded his estate winery and vineyards in 1973, he did so with a clear vision for the work and commitment that would be required to create the best wines possible. Essential to his goal was assembling a winemaking team who would embrace his dedication, attention to detail, and tremendous passion for the craft of winemaking itself. Today, the talented winemaking team of Ashley Hepworth, Napa Winemaker, Damian Parker, Director of Winemaking, Philippe Pessereau, Director of Vineyard Operations, Kelly Fields, Napa Assistant Winemaker and Justin Ennis, Freestone Assistant Winemaker, have taken Joe's vision to heights even he could never have imagined." "Ashley summarizes the Joseph Phelps winemaking philosophy as: "...creating the very best wine from the vintage we've been given; to take what we get from the vineyard and to express the terroir and the beauty of the vineyard in every bottle of wine."" - Winery
External Reviews for Joseph Phelps Insignia
The 2010 Insignia is striking. Cool, mineral notes frame a core of blue and black fruit, licorice, spices, smoke, and melted road tar as this stunning wine opens up in the glass. Totally alive in the glass, the 2010 captures the essence of this cold, late harvest. Hints of menthol, violets and crushed rocks all flow through to the incisive, vibrant finish. My sense is that the 2010 is still holding back much of its significant potential. The 2010 is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot and 2% Malbec. Anticipated maturity: 2017–2030.
Firm, dense and deeply concentrated, this offers a powerful thrust of flavors, with mocha- and espresso-laced blackberry, black licorice and cedar notes, revving up on the finish. Long, pure, driven and persistent, this seems set for a long life. Best to cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2015 through 2028.
Bright, deep red. Captivating violet lift to the aromas of cassis, minerals, bitter chocolate, licorice and sexy oak; I would have guessed this had a good deal of cabernet franc. Then extremely primary on the palate, but already showing a seductive sugar/acid balance. Boasts lovely clarity and lift to its dark fruit, minerals and bitter chocolate flavors. Finishes with a serious brace of tongue-dusting tannins and outstandingly subtle, juicy persistence. A brilliant showing considering it was bottled just a month prior to my visit: eight or ten years in the cellar may well bring an even higher score. A year ago, I preferred the 2009, but this evolved beautifully during its final months of elevage. Director of winemaker Damian Parker always destems the fruit but typically ferments with some whole berries.
This is, as always, a gorgeous wine, rich, balanced and delicious. It shows classic Napa Valley ripeness, with blackberry jam, plum, dark chocolate and sweet oak flavors. Plush and velvety doesn’t begin to do it justice. Despite its fabulous lushness, this is a wine to age. Depending on your taste, it will provide excellence from now until 2030.
The stunning 2010 Insignia, which is now in bottle, was made from 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot and Malbec. 11,060 cases were produced, and it achieved 14.9% natural alcohol. A gorgeously intense bouquet of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, black currants, blackberries, and subtle smoke and foresty aromas jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine with soft tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish displaying well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. This beauty is one of the top Insignias produced over recent years.
Food Pairings for Joseph Phelps Insignia
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