2004 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #1029544 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 Tasted in October, 2007, the wine was mute, offering little aromatically except for teasing notes of blackberries and oak. That shyness extended to the taste, where strong, hard tannins provide an almost impenetrable coat of armor to what’s inside. But right down the middle of the palate is a deep, intensely powerful stream of perfectly ripened cassis that’s all the proof you need of ageability. This is a magnificently structured young wine, reminiscent of a fine young Pauillac. Best after 2012, and should have another decade after that, at least.  (2/2008)

95 points Vinous

 Bright, dark ruby-red. Deep, ripe, expressive nose offers plum, graphite, mocha and violet aromas, plus hints of dried fruits and nutmeg. Wonderfully plush, superconcentrated wine; fleshy and sweet, conveying a small-berry character and outstanding early appeal. Its lavish ripeness is supported by firm acidity, underlying minerality and big, late-arriving tannins. As sexy as this wine is today, it's not yet near its peak. Beginning with this vintage, the Insignia has been made with 100% estate fruit. (Stephen Tanzer)  (4/2016)

94 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two stars* Among the richest and most succulent wines to be had in December's very fine bunch, Phelps's latest Insignia is a sweet and flamboyant wine that literally oozes concentrated, cassis-like fruit. It is filled out by lots of very rich, crème caramel oak, and it finds added dimension by way of its loamy earth accents. Its ample, well-tailored tannins go nearly unnoticed in light of its wonderfully plush texture, and if there are temptations to enjoy this plump and polished offering in its youth, there are manifold reasons to believe that it will continue to unfold and to improve for a decade or more.  (12/2007)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, the 2004 Insignia was aged 24 months in new French oak. It boasts a dense ruby/purple color as well as rich, full-bodied, supple tannins, abundant fruit and exciting levels of complexity and richness. This cuvee’s large production makes it one of the finest quality/quantity Cabernets produced in Napa Valley. Drink it over the next two decades. (RP)  (4/2014)

93 points Wine Spectator

 A powerful expression, tightly wound yet pure, rich and vibrant, with delicious blackberry and dark berry flavors supported by firm, gritty, earth-laced tannins that grip and hold, yet the fruit pushes through. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. (JL, Web-2014)

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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.

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.


- 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.