2011 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
*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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
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.