2006 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
*Three Stars* Already amazingly seductive with wonderfully rich aromas of sweet oak, cocoa and fully expressed fruit making a first-rate introduction, this riveting young wine in no way lets up on the palate and delivers deep, multi-faceted flavors that combine ripeness, sweet oak and very precise fruit in near-perfect proportion. As is often the case with Insignia bottlings, it is so beautifully balanced that it invites early drinking, and, while we do not condemn giving in to its charms, we also would lobby strongly for patience as its best years lie down the line.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2006 Insignia possesses a deep ruby/purple color as well as copious amounts of cassis, but has not yet developed secondary nuances. It remains a big, full-throttle, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine with 14.5% natural alcohol, impressive purity, sweet tannin, decent acidity and a monolithic personality. Everything needed for a graceful evolution is present, and the 2006 should keep for another two decades. (RP)
*Cellar Selection* There are $15 Cabs that are better to drink now. This is so strong and fruity, so oaky, so tannic, it just overwhelms the palate in its extreme youth. Just massive in blackberries, black currants, coffee, cocoa, dried herbs and 100% new, smoky-sweet French. Ridiculous to open it anytime soon. Desperately needs time in the bottle, and the point score reflects potential. Try 2012-2018.
Teasing with its floral, spicy cherry, wild berry and currant aromas, this is full-bodied, firm and structured, tight and focused, offering glimpses of what lies ahead with its complex mix of flavors and tightly wound tannins. Yet its finesse and refinement are apparent on the finish. Needs time. (JL)
A wonderful nose of chocolate, blueberries, and cherries. Full and velvety on the palate, with glorious fruit and fine tannins. Long and juicy with the fruit in balance. Give this about three to four years. Better after 2015.
Bright medium ruby. Aromas of cassis, briary blackberry, mocha and black tea, plus a rocky, flinty minerality unlike any previous vintage of Insignia. Silky-sweet and fine-grained but with noteworthy energy to its dark berry, tar and mineral flavors. Finishes with huge tannins and slowly building length. This brooding, closed wine still needs time to absorb more of its tannins. 92+ (ST)
In a more recent tasting, Connoisseur's Guide's Charles Olken said about the 2006: "I pick out 2006 for a very personal reason. It was never a favored vintage among most commentators, but it was a year in which many good wines were made. And more to the point, it was a vintage, with its lighter, less concentrated style, that the English pundits just loved for its restraint. The 2006 is now a decade old and it is rounding into shape in the way that we hope our cellared Cabernets will. It is gaining complexity and richness and it has plenty of room to grow for another decade. Good on the Brits for picking it out." (8/2016)