2008 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia is a towering, statuesque wine bursting with blackberry jam, tar, spices, leather and licorice. It shows fabulous depth and richness backed up by serious, imposing tannins that suggest it has a long life. Ideally, the 2008 should be purchased by those who can be patient; it is not a wine for those seeking immediate gratification. The blend is 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. (AG)
*Three Stars* Once again, Insignia takes it accustomed place near the very head of the class, and, as usual, it is one of the most polished and well-balanced Cabernets to be had. That is not to say that it in any way lacks for authority, richness or size, for it is an intense and impressively filled wine, and it vies for top honors in a vintage that has provided more than a few noteworthy wines. It drives home the point that big wines can be wonderfully balanced, and, while delicious even now, it will not reach its peak for a good many years to come.
What a wonderful wine here. The nose shows a fabulous combination of dark fruits, chocolate, spices and caramel. The palate is silky textured with lots of ripe yet beautiful fruit and super silky, tight tannins This is a balanced wine with all the potential to age for decades.
Dense and chewy, this is very tight and closed, but the glimpses of fruit offer tight mineral, crushed rock, graphite, dried currant, cedar and anise. Full-bodied and way too young to drink now, this needs time, but should provide years of rewarding drinking. (JL)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 reveals an opaque purple color in addition to blueberry and blackberry fruit notes intermixed with incense and violets. Barely approaching adolescence, it is still a grapy, primary, full-bodied beauty that will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring. It should drink well for 20-25 years. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full medium ruby. Black fruits, minerals, licorice, tar, menthol and sweet oak on the nose. Sweet and creamy on entry, then quite penetrating and tight in the mid-palate, showing a medicinal reserve for the vintage. A backward and rather powerful Insignia with the structure to require, and reward, considerable aging. 93+ (ST)
*Cellar Selection* A glamorous wine, rich and complex, with lots going on. Lacks perhaps some of the depth of, say, the '03 and '04, more on a par with the 2007, but still a very fine Insignia. With rich blackberry and cassis flavors wrapped into thick tannins and fine new oak sweetness, it's nowhere ready to drink now.