1997 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
An inky/plum/purple color is accompanied by a stunning bouquet of violets, charcoal, creme de cassis and a hint of toast. Prodigious when it hits the palate with a full-bodied expansiveness, there is not a hard edge to be found in the 1997, only velvety tannins, compelling depth and fruit intensity, and stunning purity. It is a perfect expression of Napa viticulture and wine that should continue to age effortlessly for two decades or more. (RP)
Dense, rich and focused, youthful and concentrated, with hints of maturity on the edge of the core currant, mineral and spicy berry flavors. Wonderful vibrancy and intensity for a wine this age, which only bodes well for the future. A classic. Drink now through 2020. (2008)
Opens with aromas of black cherry and pencil lead, fruitcake and cookie dough; now it’s all one big melange wrapped a bit tight. The balance and immense depth of fruit shine, even in this unevolved state. Standard dark-plum and chocolate notes are rendered with uncommon subtlety here. The finish goes on and on. Needs four to six years, but will last and last.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full ruby. Supersweet aromas of blackberry, cassis, bitter chocolate, espresso and tobacco. Thick and seamless yet bright and sharply defined. Very long and spicy on the aftertaste, with excellent grip. Sweet tannins coat the teeth. Williams says the selection for Insignia is based on quality and concentration rather than on a particular flavor profile.