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
Price Library Selection: $240
Blend and Grape Sources
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot from estate-owned vineyards in Rutherford (30%), South Napa (22%), the St. Helena home ranch (17%) and Stags Leap District (Barboza Vineyard, 17% and Las Rocas Vineyard, 14%).
Harvest Dates Sept. 29 to Nov. 1, 2005
Grapes were harvested Sept. 29 – Nov. 1 at an average 25.0º Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks for 14- 21 days (with additional vatting time of 1 to 2 weeks) and aged 24 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud, Jaegle, Nadalie, Demptos and Vicard. The wine was bottled in February 2008.
The initial blend assembled in April of ’06 was quite reticent. Not until early ‘07 did the wine “blossom” in barrel showing amazing depth, texture and vibrant fruit qualities. Deeply colored, concentrated and layered, with floral, anise, black cherry and graphite aromas, this wine is classically structured with excellent acidity, well-balanced tannins and a mouth-staining, persistent finish.
The beginning of 2005 was wet; between January and the end of June there was an accumulation of approximately 25 inches of rain, which helped sustain the larger than normal crop load. It is interesting to note that the significant bud fruitfulness and larger than normal cluster size in 2005 was due to perfect weather conditions in June/July of 2004 when the buds were forming. In 2005, what turned into optimum weather conditions during bud break, bloom and set just solidified the crop size. Shoots had three clusters instead of the normal two, and thinning passes were conducted during the unusually temperate summer to balance the vine, improve air and light distribution within the vine canopy and ensure optimal quality. The extended hang time in 2005 also allowed for the development of balanced sugar and acidity in the cluster.