2005 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1040806 97 points Connoisseurs Guide

 ***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.  (12/ 2008)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Since 2004, 100% of the Bordeaux varietals used in the Insignia proprietary blend have been from estate vineyards. The beautiful, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Insignia (a 12,500-case blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot) possesses sweet aromas of black cherries, cassis, chocolate, camphor, and a subtle hint of roasted herbs. Medium to full-bodied and elegant, with a European style imposed on the rich, velvety, California fruit, this cuvee will benefit from several years of bottle age, and should easily keep for three decades.  (12/ 2008)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 *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.  (5/ 2009)

94 points Wine & Spirits

 This vintage of Insignia is primarily cabernet sauvignon (92 percent), blended with small amounts of petit verdot and merlot, sourced from Phelps's estate vineyards in Rutherford, Stags Leap District, south Napa and St. Helena. 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.  (6/ 2009)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (92% cabernet sauvignon with 7% petit verdot and 1% merlot; bottled the month before my visit) 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(+?)  (6/ 2008)

92 points Wine Spectator

 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  (10/ 2008)

K&L Notes

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%).

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 By: georgedi |  Review Date: 2/26/2010 
Great Expectations strike again. In my opinion, Insignia tastes far better than Dickens reads but, wow, just what was I looking for? Fireworks? Not here. If there is any such thing as a high end ho-hum meritage, this is it. I have one more bottle. I'll try it again.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.