Joseph Phelps Insignia 2018
1 or more bottles$475.00
James Suckling99 points
Lisa Perrotti-B97+ points
A blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Magnificent colour density featuring an impenetrable inky black heart and a near equally deep black dark red hue. Wafting out of the glass are potent ripe blackcurrant, black cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate scents which are intermeshed with vanillin cedar, light scorched earth, tobacco, graphite and subtle spicy dried herb notes. Exceptionally powerful and concentrated, the palate pairs a seductive opulence with a sleek yet firm tannin structure. Decadently rich cassis, black cherry, liquorice and dark chocolate flavours engulf every corner of the palate. Vanillin cedar, scorched earth, tobacco, graphite, dried herb and spice characters lie underneath. Dense and robust in its feel, it remains relatively unevolved finishing with a very long, super saturated aftertaste.
Cellar 10-15 years.
Light (Light)Full (Full)
Low Tannin (Low Tannin)Tannic (Tannic)
Sweet (Sweet)Dry (Dry)
Low Acidity (Low Acidity)High Acidity (High Acidity)
- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
"Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now."
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW97+
"The 2018 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard sources this year include: 30% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District),18% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 13% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 18% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 7% Barboza (Stags Leap District). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes storming out of the glass with powerful notes of blackcurrant cordial, stewed black plums and boysenberries, plus hints of cedar chest, graphite, menthol and wet slate with a fragrant waft of clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate already demonstrates remarkable balance at this youthful stage, featuring a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the tightly wound, crunchy black fruits, finishing long and spicy. Drink 2024-2044."
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The United States is now the fourth-largest producer of wine worldwide, with an abundance of grapevines planted in many wine regions, though Californian accounts for almost 90% of the country's output. In the late 1800s, the root louse phylloxera decimated many of the vineyards in Europe. It originated in the soils of North America where the vines are naturally resistant and was transferred to Europe on vine cuttings. In this case, North America was both the cause of the problem, and the solution, in the form of resistant rootstock for grafting.
It wasn’t until 1973 when Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay from Château Montelana were judged to be the best in the world at the famous Paris Wine Show that the quality of the Californian wine industry was truly confirmed in the eyes of Europe.
Most all varieties are planted these days in the United States, from Syrah to Tempranillo, Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Viognier and every blend in between. Key varieties are Californian Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Cooler climates such as Oregon and Washington produce brilliant Pinot Noir. Even states previously considered too hot and arid for wine, like Arizona are being planted, with great results.
California is home not only to most of the wine production in the United States, but also to some of the country’s most renowned wines. Thanks to a climate that features warmth, sunshine, cooling influences from ocean breezes and fog, and varying altitudes, California producers can make a wide range of wine styles. Among California’s black grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon (the state’s most widely planted black variety), Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. For white wines, the most prominent are Chardonnay (the most planted grape variety of either colour) and Sauvignon Blanc. Regionally speaking, California’s main vineyards fall under five regions, three of which contain most of the county appellations and American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): North Coast, Central Coast, and Central Valley (which produces most of the state’s wine). North Coast encompasses the counties of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino. Central Coast includes the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey AVAs as well as San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, including the Paso Robles AVA and Santa Maria Valley AVA. Central Valley is home to the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys as well as the Lodi AVA.
Not to be confused with the city of Napa or Napa Valley, California’s Napa County actually encompasses the Napa Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), the narrow strip of land stretching up the centre of the county that’s known as one of the state’s most renowned wine-producing areas. This was the first AVA designated in California, and it has built a global reputation for Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay single-varietal wines, among other varieties. Keep in mind that wines labelled ‘Napa County’ may be from Napa Valley, or they may be from a section of the county not covered by the Napa Valley AVA. Napa County is also home to wine-producing areas Yountville, St Helena, Calistoga, and others.
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