First produced from the 1974 vintage, Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, first from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Insignia is a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine crafted from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards: Spring Valley Home Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley.
Forty years after the inaugural vintage, Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005 and in November 2013, high esteem by critic Robert Parker that in 2014, to mark the winery’s 40th anniversary, he visited the estate for an historic tasting of each Insignia vintage from 1974-2012, awarding the 1991, 1997, and 2002 vintages each a perfect 100 points points – proving that the best California Cabernets can stand the test of time. On his website, Parker reported on the tasting, noting that the event was, ‘one of the most historical vertical tastings I have ever done… I had the privilege of tasting every vintage from 1974 to 2012.’
Proprietary Bordeaux Blend
Blend and Grape Sources
88% Cabernet Sauvignon, primarily from our estate-owned Las Rocas vineyard in Stags Leap and Banca Dorada vineyard in the Rutherford Bench, as well as from independent growers; 12% Merlot from Stags Leap and Carneros.
Sep 9 - Oct 19, 1993
Grapes were harvested from September 9, - October 19, 1993 at an average 24.6 degrees Brix and fermented in stainless steel tanks. The wine was then aged 26 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels before being blended, fined with fresh egg whites, and bottled in February, 1996.
The challenging 1993 growing season was characterized by hot, dry weather and a light crop, yet once the heat spell broke on September 3, the cooler temperatures promoted uniform ripening in the vineyards. In a vintage where colors tended to be lighter and tannins harsher, our Cabernet and Merlot grapes were small and deeply pigmented, producing a highly extractive, black/purple wine with complex flavors and smooth tannins. After blending and aging, this is proving to be one of the biggest Insignias produced in some time, with deep, pure varietal aromas and remarkable depth of flavor. (We can identify black cherry, black currants, spice and a touch of oak). Additional bottle aging will develop these flavors even further.