2002 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2002 boasts an inky/purple color along with notes of graphite, violets, blackberries, creme de cassis and hints of charcoal and barbecue in addition to a full-bodied, multilayered mouthfeel that builds incrementally with great purity, staggering fruit concentration, and a long, velvety, 50+-second finish. This prodigious effort should continue to drink well for 20+ years. (RP)
*Three Stars* Once again showing the extraordinary combination of polish, fruity depth and wonderfully rich oak that is particular to the very best of the Insignia lineup, this concentrated, intensely aromatic wine comes up long on character and style. Its evident ripeness is manifest in a touch of last-minute heat, but its fleshy feel, superb balance and neatly fit tannin bring it a peerless sense of refinement that will tease us all long before this stunningly compelling bottling reaches its finely polished peak some five to seven years hence.
*Wine of the Year 2005* Rich flavors fan out, the way you hope for, coating the palate with layers of currant, fresh earth, mineral, cedar, tobacco, mocha, black licorice and espresso. The tannins are firm and the structure built for a longer haul. Very much in its infancy still at age 10, it finds that unusual bridge between dense Napa fruit and a Bordeaux build. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. (JL, Web-2012)
Wine & Spirits
A luscious vintage of Insignia, this '02 has the sleek feel of fine Napa Valley cabernet. There's fragrant red berry and forest-floor character at the center of the wine, then blacker currant flavors and tannin softened by luxurious oak in the end. Touches of super-ripeness add to the richness without diminishing the wine's freshness.
Full red-ruby. Slightly roasted, high-toned black raspberry nose show a slightly pruney ripeness (the VA here was a relatively elevated 0.85). Creamy, plush and sweet, displaying excellent breadth and still-considerable baby fat. This was quite flashy on release but now seems to be in an adolescent phase. Big, building tannins saturate the tongue and front teeth. Winemaker Hepworth described it as 'like a teenager, and without the suavity of tannins of the 2001.' I'd leave it alone for at least a couple more years, at which point it may well merit a higher score. 92+ (ST)
This celebrated wine is not mind-blowing right now. It's dry, oaky, tannic and soft. There's a wealth of cassis and moo shu pork flavors, and huge new oak. Yet it holds itself back, teasing but withdrawing into its tannic cloak. Collectors, be reassured it's worth stashing.
Glowing blackish purple. Silky smooth texture with a little putty notes on the nose. Hint of something roasted but very much more integrated and silky than the 2001. Already broachable. Lip smacking. Pure. Not shy though! 18/20 points.