Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon is the second wine of Insignia.
Blend : 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
Aging : 18 months in 48% new oak barrels (62% french & 38% american), and 52% one-to two-year-old barrels.
95/100. This is a beautiful wine, effusive in cassis, black cherry, woody cedar and sage... it offers substantial structure and tannin weight, with ample clove spice and toasted oak. It is built to age. - Wine Enthusiast
95/100. Very aromatic with blueberries and blackcurrants, as well as red licorice. Floral, too. Medium-to full-bodied, firm and lightly chewy. Lovely depth of fruit here. Rich and flavorful. Extremely well done for the vintage. Shows more finesse and tightness than 2016. Very classic. One-third of the production. Try it. Drink after 2022, but already delicious. - James Suckling
92/100. Offers a chunky feel, featuring a mix of dark plum and black currant fruit, with singed mesquite, dried bay leaf, sage and licorice root notes. Shows youthful rambunctiousness, balanced by good underlying structure and ample fruit.Should resolve easily with cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2034. - James Molesworth
91/100. The 2017 sashays out of the glass with open-knit, alluring baked plums, stewed cherries, mulberries and warm cassis with hints of spice cake, cracked pepper and tobacco leaf. The palate delivers a great intensity of black berry and exotic spice layers, framed by soft tannins and lively freshness, finishing with impressive length. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
90/100. The only wine here that has a touch of grower fruit, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley saw a two-thirds reduction in production due to declassifying due to smoke taint. It has a classic Cabernet nose of blackcurrants, scorched earth, tobacco, and lead pencil as well as a medium-bodied, supple, elegant, pretty style on the palate. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years. - Jeb Dunnuck
About Joseph Phelps
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned and operated wine estate with vineyards and wineries in Napa Valley and on the western Sonoma Coast. The winery was founded in 1973 by Joseph Phelps, a successful construction executive and entrepreneur whose early interest in wine led him to establish vineyards on a 670-acre former cattle ranch in Napa Valley. Over the next 42 years Joe became one of the most respected figures in the California wine industry, building Joseph Phelps Vineyards into a critically-acclaimed winery internationally known for its iconic wines and unwavering commitment to quality.
In 1974 Joe Phelps had the idea to make a separate cuvee each year, one that would represent the finest wine he could make from each vintage. He didn’t necessarily think it would always be a Cabernet Sauvignon. It might be a white wine in some years, a Chardonnay or a Riesling, or it might be a Syrah or Merlot. His only thought was to make one wine that represented the best of what Joseph Phelps Vineyards could produce each year. He decided to name the wine Insignia, a proprietary name that would give him the flexibility to make the wine out of any varietal he chose.
As it happened, 1974 was a great year for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley and the 1974 Insignia was 94% Cabernet from the Stags Leap District. The following year Merlot dominated the blend, and in 1976, it returned to Cabernet, this time from the Eisele Vineyard. It was becoming increasingly clear that red Bordeaux varieties – particularly Cabernet Sauvignon - were ideally suited to Napa Valley and would consistently yield the best wines of the vintage. From 1977 on, Cabernet Sauvignon was never less than 50% of the Insignia blend and gradually became the dominant varietal. Joe’s vision evolved: Insignia would always be a proprietary red Bordeaux-style blend.
Over forty years later, Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s most iconic wines. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005 and Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded four perfect 100-point scores to the 1991, 1997, 2002 and 2007 vintages of Insignia.
“Joseph Phelps was one of the great visionaries of Napa Valley. His legacy is one of extraordinary quality. He was one of the first to see the merit in blending, which his legendary Insignia, which first debuted in 1974, has proven year after year. It remains one of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blends.”
Robert M. Parker, Jr.