2005 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
*Three Stars, Wine of the Year in 2008* This year's version of Insignia is a stunning wine that vies for very top honors of the vintage. Its utterly enveloping aromas of perfectly ripe currants, creamy oak and dried violets are followed up in the mouth with wonderfully extracted, carefully proportioned Cabernet flavors that go on and on. The wine is lush yet solidly structured with a fine sense of balance and tannin right where it should be, and, as good as the wine will be in its youth, it will be better yet with age.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2005 Proprietary Red Insignia (14.5% alcohol and typically aged 24 months in new French oak) is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot. Juicy, fresh and vibrant, with a dense, ruby/purple color, and a classic nose of licorice and crème de cassis as well as hints of new saddle leather and earth, the wine is a brilliant blend that after ten years shows no evidence of the 24 months it spent in new French oak. Full-bodied, opulent, but still youthful, this wine looks set for another 25-30 years of aging. The wine’s best elements are its finesse and elegance allied to great richness and intensity. This wine is accessible now, as most Insignias tend to be, but much of its greatness will be revealed over the next two decades. (RP)
*Cellar Selection* This is not a wine for tonight, or next year, or for at least the next six years. It's shut down in tannins, with an astringency that can’t be overcome even with decanting, although that won't stop people from opening it before its time. Buried beneath the tannins are well-developed black currant, roasted meat and cedar flavors that define upscale Napa Cab. Really fine and distinguished, a wine to cellar and enjoy for many years.
Wine & Spirits
For now, it's a sleek wine, with black currant flavors equal to a substantial presence of oak. The tannins are superripe and luxurious; they gain detail with air, becoming more mineral while allowing a fresh scent of roses to come forward. Accessible now for its richness, this will yield more complex pleasures with ten years of age.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Bright ruby-red. Highly complex nose melds currant, black licorice, lead pencil, mocha, bitter chocolate and fresh herbs. Deep and sweet in the middle, with juicy acidity giving shape to the concentrated, silky flavors of cassis and dark chocolate. This, too, is downright Bordeaux-like. Finishes with broad, lush tannins and excellent length. This has fleshed out nicely since I tasted it from barrel a year ago but should still be kept for a minimum of five or six years. 93+ (ST)
Smooth, supple and complex, offering wonderful aromas and serving up a range of herb- and mineral-laced currant, black cherry, blackberry, sage and pebble notes. Ends with a clipped edge. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot.
Rather ridiculous special bottle. Dark crimson. Actually pretty convincing and beautifully knit on the nose. Mellow and rich with balsamic and black olive notes. Very luscious and sumptuous.
2005 Insignia blend and grape sources: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot from estate-owned vineyards in Rutherford (30%), South Napa (22%), the St. Helena home ranch (17%) and Stags Leap District (Barboza Vineyard, 17% and Las Rocas Vineyard, 14%).