2013 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The flagship wine of the estate in reds is their Insignia, which has been one of the great Bordeaux blends made in California since the debut vintage in 1974. It usually has 30+ years aging potential, even in lighter vintages, of which the 2012, 2013 and 2014 are decidedly not. The 2013 Proprietary Red Insignia was scheduled for bottling after my visit. A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest smaller proportions of Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, this is a smaller cuvée of about 12,300 cases. This could turn out even better than the 2012, although the final judgment will have to take place from bottle. An amazing, inky purple color offers up notes of pen ink, white flowers, blueberry and blackberry liqueur. Nicely coiled, its tense, but rich and extracted palate is full-bodied with layers of concentrated fruit, well-integrated wood, acidity and tannin, and a finish of a good 40-45 seconds. This stunner should hit its prime in 5-6 years and last 30-40 years. (RP)
The 2013 Insignia is ripe, forward and explosive, with striking nuance and delineation throughout. Vivid and intense, but also showing admirable restraint, the 2013 is super-impressive. Twenty-four months in 100% new oak has really tamed what was once a powerful, almost over the top wine. Today, the 2013 is still closed and not fully formed, but it is shaping up to be a real gem. (AG)
Extravagant aromas of crushed blackberries, mint, eucalyptus and flint. Full body, round and velvety textured. Rich and flavorful finish. Lusciousness with form. Reserved palate. Very attractive now but better in 2020.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Black fruits and violet on the nose, complemented by spicecake and nutty oak. Boasts outstanding purity and density of fruit but the wine's superb sweetness is nicely controlled by its sheer juicy concentration and spice character. Conveys great inner-mouth tension owing to its firm acidity and strong underlying minerality. A terrific early showing considering the recent bottling, with a high-pitched floral element that contributes to the wine's weightless impression. The tannins are beautifully integrated with the fruit but it's hard to imagine that this wine won't shut down at some point. The long, rising finish spreads out horizontally to saturate the palate. (ST)
Rich and full-bodied, but exhibiting the lift of a brighter red. The dark berry flavors give this an elegant mouthfeel and ease the tannic strength. Tempting now but worth cellaring. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2018 through 2032. (JL)