THE RAREST OFFERING OF INSIGNIA IN TWENTY YEARS, DUE TO A DRASTIC SELECTION OF THE GRAPES PICKED UP BEFORE THE FIRES.
2017 Insignia opens in the glass with heady aromas of mocha, cedar, roasted espresso, blueberry and ripe plum. Fresh and focused with building layers of black cherry, blackberry preserve, spice box and vanilla essence. Plush, velvety texture and seamless tannins culminate in a lengthy, lingering finish.
Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc
From estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards: 46% Las Rocas Vineyard (Stags Leap District), 13% Suscol Vineyard (South Napa), 10% Yountville Vineyard (Oak Knoll District), 22% Barboza Vineyard (Stags Leap District) and 9% Home Ranch Vineyard (St. Helena).
>68% Stags Leap, the highest proportion ever.
Ageing: 24 months in 100% new French oak.
96/100. A beautiful, focused wine with a tight center palate of blackberries, blueberries and dark chocolate. Very subtle. Hints of mint and sage, too. Medium to full body and fine, racy tannins. A reserved and very pretty Insignia. Fresh finish. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2022. - James Suckling
95-97/100. Not yet bottled, the 2017 Insignia (which includes no Petit Verdot due to the frosts) offers both red and black fruits as well as lots of spice box, gravelly earth, and integrated oak. It opens up beautifully with time in the glass, is medium to full-bodied, has beautiful mid-palate depth and concentration, and a great finish. It’s a classic, undeniable success in this challenging vintage. - Jeb Dunnuck
94/100. 7 600 cases madeDelivers showy fruit, with layered flavors of warmed boysenberry, blackberry and açai berry paste, framed by a subtle aider hint and backed by warm earth and cast iron details on the finish. Not shy, and well-built for the vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon; Malbec and Cabernet Franc. best from 2022 through 2038. - James Molesworth
94-97/100. The 2017 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine is a barrel sample blended of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, projected to age 24 months in 100% new French oak. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it features lovely crème de cassis, blackberry preserves and spice cake scents with touches of plum preserves and dried Provence herbs plus hints of tree bark and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with energetic fruit, framed by firm, grainy tannins and finishing with a lovely minty lift. 7,700 cases are expected to be made. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
91-94/100. A heady, flamboyant wine, the 2017 Insignia exudes textural richness and intensity from the outset. Raspberry jam, blood orange, pomegranate and sweet spices are all seamless in the glass. Sadly, production will be down sharply, around 7,700 cases as compared to 12-15,000 that is the norm. - Antonio Galloni
About Joseph Phelps & Insignia
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.