2005 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
***Three Stars and awarded 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 wine possesses a European-like structure because of the firm tannins and slight austerity, but it exhibits a beautiful density of fruit. Not yet an adolescent, this youthful 2005 reveals an inky/purple color as well as notes of lead pencil shavings, charcoal, black currants, cedar and underbrush. Full and rich, but backward and structured, it needs to be forgotten for another 3-4 years, and drunk over the following 25 years. 95+ (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(+?)
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. Best from 2011 through 2018.
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%).