2011 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1175454 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Ranked #72, Top 100 Cellar Selections 2015* Impeccable elegance characterizes this vintage of the producer’s marquee Bordeaux-style blend, an expert finessing of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Juicy in exotic black fruit, it stands tall, with silky, towering shoulders of herb, cardamom and clove that will coalesce beautifully over time. (VB)  (5/2015)

90-93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011’s deep ruby/purple color is followed by sweet aromas of bouquet garni, mint, red and black currants, tobacco leaf and licorice, and a surprisingly intense, full-bodied mouthfeel with more richness and intensity than I would have expected from this vintage. It is also precocious and can be drunk upon release or cellared for 15 or more years...the 2011 Insignia is composed of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec, Merlot and a dollop of Cabernet Franc, and represents 13,000 cases. It achieved a slightly lower alcohol of 14.1%. (RP)  (11/2013)

93 points Vinous

 The 2011 Insignia is impressive, no doubt about it. In this vintage, it is the wine's length and persistence that stand out most. This is a decidedly Old World style of Insignia with less raciness than is customary. Grilled herbs, smoke, dried rose petal, tobacco and cedar are some of the notes that add complexity. Readers should give the 2011 another few years in bottle for the tannins to soften. This is the first vintage of Insignia that incorporates both Cabernet Franc and Malbec. This is a very strong set of new and upcoming releases from Joseph Phelps and winemaker Ashley Hepworth. The 2011s are strong, the 2012s capture the personality of the year, while the 2013s are shaping up to be superb. (AG)  (9/2014)

92 points James Suckling

 A balanced, delicious Insignia for early drinking. Aromas of currants, blueberries and licorice follow through to a full to medium body, fine tannins and a clean finish. Yummy.  (5/2014)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good bright medium ruby. Nicely perfumed nose offers scents of currant, plum, tobacco, mocha and dark chocolate. Plush and sweet on the palate; perhaps smaller-scaled than the top vintages of Insignia but there's plenty of texture and depth here. Dark berry flavors are complicated by subtle tobacco leaf, menthol and dried herb nuances. Finishes plummy and sweet, with big building tannins and lots of sexy oak; largely avoids the dryness of the Napa Valley version. This is the first vintage of Insignia to include all five of the major Bordeaux red varieties. (ST)  (6/2014)

K&L Notes

The proprietary name Insignia was selected to represent the finest lots available from each vintage, and to emphasize the importance of blending over varietal designation as a determinate of quality. First produced from their 1974 vintage, Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California.

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By: Trey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/4/2014 | Send Email
In warm vintages such as 2007, I feel Insignia is too much for me. The cooler 2011 vintage really allows this wine to still have that typical Phelps fruit but with much more restraint and a bit more elegance and finesse. This is a solid effort for the vintage!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5