2003 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
**Cellar Selection** One of the first, if not the first, of the proprietarily named Napa Bordeaux blends, Phelps Insignia has been one of California’s greatest Cabs for decades. This is their 30th anniversary bottling, and it’s worthy of the tradition. Ultrarich and smooth, with a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet, it’s fairly thick in tannins now, suggesting cellaring. But it’s huge in blackberry, dark unsweetened chocolate and spicy plum fruit, and will easily hold for a very long time.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2003 has performed well in recent tasting, showing a dense purple color along with notes of creosote, lavender, flowers, creme de cassis, espresso roast, white chocolate and a hint of oak. Still in a young adolescent stage, it should drink nicely for another 15-20 years. (RP)
Not surprisingly, this year's Insignia again takes its accustomed place near the head of its class. It is a very deep and involving wine with a genuinely complex interplay of ripe cherries, sweet smoke, subtle herbs and notes of dusty soil running its length. As always, it displays hallmark polish and exemplary balance, yet it is never wanting for richness or strength. It deserves to be set aside for at least four or five years and has a very good shot at improving for a decade or more.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full ruby-red. Slightly jammy aromas of blackberry, mocha and dark chocolate. Not especially dense or fleshy but has an attractive juicy quality and good life. Dominated by a flavor of black raspberry. Finishes with big, firm, rather fine tannins. (ST)
...This is rich and mature, with complex dried berry, cedar, cigar box, dried herb and loamy earth notes, veering toward dryness on the finish, where the flavors retain velocity. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec.—2003 California Cabernet blind retrospective (July 2013). Drink now through 2018. 12,000 cases made. (JL)