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
90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot, with 80% of the blend coming from estate-grown grapes in the Stags Leap District, Rutherford Bench and St. Helena area, and the remainder from independent growers.
Oct 3 - Oct 19, 1995
Grapes were harvested from October 3 - 19, 1995 at an average 23.8 degrees Brix, fermented to 13.5% alcohol, then aged 24 months in French oak barrels before being bottled in January, 1998.
The 1995 growing season was characterized by a wet spring, followed by cool weather in June and July. Ripening and flavor development finally began in August, with the onset of a warm spell which prevailed throughout September and most of October. Tonnage was down throughout the North Coast, and berry size was smaller than normal, producing wines of deep color and rich, extractive flavors. The surprise of the year for us was the quality of the Petit Verdot, which has contributed both color and texture to the final blend. Although not yet in full production, we have over 10 acres of the varietal planted on our Spring Valley ranch, and hold high hopes for its future. Although still young, the 1995 Insignia has intense aromas of black cherry, spice, coffee and toasty oak, with well-defined flavors of mocha and blackberry fruit. It is framed by solid tannins, and has a long, lush finish with no bitterness or astringency on the palate. Compared to the 1994 Insignia (which was rated the No. 3 wine of the year in the December, 1997 Wine Spectator), the 1995 blend is equally well balanced but not yet quite as forward, with greater structure and depth due to the nature of the tannins extracted from the '95 vintage. It may well prove to be the longer lived wine.