2019 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, Napa Valley, USA (750ml)
The 2019 Insignia opens with heady aromatics of red fruit, crème de cassis, leafy tobacco and delicate dried rose petals. The palate is juicy and dense with expressive layers of blackberry, raspberry, black currant, and dark chocolate. A dynamic wine offering captivating energy, length, complexity and refinement. The 2019 Insignia marks the first vintage to include fruit from the new Joseph Phelps vineyard named El Venadito, located in the Oak Knoll District, just south of the winery’s Yountville Vineyard.
Another beautiful wine from this team, the 2019 Insignia is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon but includes smaller amounts of Merlot and Malbec, brought up all in new barrels, sourced from seven estate vineyards. It has a classic varietal and incredibly complex nose of crème de cassis, freshly sharpened pencils, green tobacco, and damp earth, with a kiss of background sappy spring flowers. Seemingly from a cooler year with its freshness, vibrancy, and herbal, floral character on the nose, it's nevertheless full-bodied and beautifully concentrated on the palate, with ultra-fine tannins, a seamless, layered mouthfeel, and a gorgeous finish. Unquestionably up with the finest vintages of this cuvée, this is legit awesome juice that’s going to offer incredible pleasure over the coming 20-25 years. Hats off to winemaker Ashley Hepworth.
- Jeb Dunnuck, 99 pts.
More elegant and refined than the Napa Cab, the 2019 Insignia features restrained cedar and vanilla notes (despite spending two years in 100% new French oak) and delicate herbal shadings accenting cassis and black cherry fruit. Full-bodied, velvety and somewhat open-knit on the palate, it turns plush and long on the finish, adding a touch of warmth. Production this year is approximately 17,000 cases, reflecting the increased volume coming from recently replanted vineyards. It's remarkable what a good job they continue to do with this bottling year after year, without compromising on quality.
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96 pts.
Given two years in new French oak, this vintage blends 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Brooding black fruit is complemented by classic notions of cigar box, tobacco, iron and clove, with a leather texture that's still got time to unfurl. Dense and chewy tannins provide a powerful imprint of intensity and ripeness matched in toasted oak. Enjoy best from 2029–2039.
- Wine Enthusiast, 94 pts.
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