2004 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
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.
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)
*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.
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)
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)