2001 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Still a young wine at age 12, the 2001 Insignia exhibits a dense purple color along with a sweet bouquet of camphor, blackberries, cassis, incense and spring flowers. Full-bodied, rich and heady with sweet tannin, stunning concentration and a fabulous finish, this remarkable Insignia has 25 or more years of life ahead of it.
A triumph. Aged nearly two years in all-new French oak, this massive wine stuns with its superb balance. Manages the elusive challenge of reining in hugely ripe black currant, cherry and oak flavors and sweet tannins while keeping the palate impression soft and alluring, almost feminine. Just gorgeous right out of the bottle, but should develop effortlessly through the decade and beyond.
Wine & Spirits
This is a great vintage of Insignia, which means it's a great Napa cabernet that will last for decades. The balance is amazing, incorporating beautiful red fruit deepening to black cherry and darker berry, a lot of alcohol and a lot of oak holding it structured and strong. The texture is flawless, with tannins adding richness and earthy notes of black Stags Leap District soil. Those tannins seamlessly support the sweet blend of Cabernet with a touch of Petite Verdot (8 percent) and Malbec (3) extending the clean berry flavors long after each sip. Dynamic now, complex in ten years' time.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Saturated bright ruby. Wild aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, currant, game, espresso and licorice, with a liqueur-like sweetness. Then fat, broad and sweet, with impressively deep flavors of black raspberry, minerals and dark chocolate. Lush and large-scaled, but impressively well-balanced. The tannins are buried by fruit and mineral flavors on the very long finish.
Far and away the more polished of the two showcase bottlings from Phelps, this year's Insignia is simply bursting with well-extracted curranty fruit and is, from its first sniff through to its very long finish, a luxuriant wine that is layered with gorgeous oak. It claims different territory than its sturdier partner below, and it achieves a real sense of elegance without sacrificing richness or size. It is so finely balanced that it almost tempts drinking now, but its undisguised tannins remind that its best lies some years ahead.