2006 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
***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 (95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot; 16,000 cases produced) is a superb effort in this vintage. Another 30+ year wine, it boasts a dense plum/purple color as well as abundant notes of licorice, black currants, charcoal, black olives, and graphite. Full-bodied, pure, and rich with moderately high tannins, it represents a California version of a Bordeaux from Pauillac or St.-Julien. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2045.
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. Best from 2011 through 2018.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good full medium bright ruby. Fresher on the nose than the Napa bottling, offering cassis, bitter chocolate and roasted herbs. Then very ripe and dense but suave, showing good energy and a slightly clenched middle palate. The tannins are serious and granular, but here there's plenty of supporting mid-palate material. Still a bit awkward following the recent bottling; this may well merit a higher score three or four years down the road. 90(+?)
95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot.