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.’
Varietal : Proprietary Bordeaux Blend
Blend and Grape Sources
72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec from estate-owned vineyards in St. Helena (27%), Stags Leap (24%), Yountville (22%), Rutherford (19%) and Oakville (8%).
Grapes were harvested between Sept. 8 - Oct. 1 at an average 25.0° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged 24 months in new 60-gallon French oak barrels by a variety of French coopers including Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle, Nadalie, Demptos and Vicard. The wine was blended and bottled in December, 2006.
The 2004 vintage marks the first time Insignia has been blended entirely from estate-grown fruit - the fulfillment of a dream that has taken many years to realize. The low-yield vintage produced a wine with syrupy blackberry and blueberry aromas married with seductive spice, followed by velvety tannins, roundness in the finish and outstanding texture, all of which are superbly integrated.
High quality and reduced yields characterized the 2004 vintage, which started out quite warm in early spring, then settled into a balmy weather pattern through July and most of August where mornings were cool and afternoon temperatures stayed in the low to mid-90's. However, on August 27th a three-week heat spell began with many days measuring over 100 degrees. As a result, some of the ripening fruit became dehydrated and had to be removed from the vines prior to harvesting. Depending on location, crop yields were reduced ten to forty percent. Our job in crafting the 2004 wines was to moderate over-ripe characteristics, but from the very beginning the aromas and flavors drifting out of the fermenters signaled outstanding quality. Color and extract were high. In barrel, reds appeared rich and forward in structure -- characteristics that have continued to evolve and develop with bottle age.