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
95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot from 100% estate-owned Napa Valley vineyards which break down as follows: * South Napa, 33% (Suscol Vineyard) * Stags Leap District, 29% (Barboza Vineyard 17% and Las Rocas Vineyard 12%) * Rutherford, 20% (Banca Dorada Vineyard) * St. Helena, 10% (Spring Valley Ranch Vineyards) * Oak Knoll District, 8% (Yountville Vineyard)
Grapes were harvested between October 7-27, 2006 at an average 24.5° Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle, Nadalie, Demptos, Marcel Cadet and Sylvain.
The opaque, inky color of the 2006 Insignia is followed by concentrated aromatics of lush black fruit, graphite, coffee, dark cocoa powder, licorice, and cola syrup. The dense flavors and balanced tannins integrate beautifully for a long, layered finish.
The growing season in 2006 started slowly with bud break two weeks behind the historical average. The season began with an abundance of moisture in the soil from the winter rains and the weather was fairly cool with a significant amount of cloud cover and periodic rain showers during the spring. April brought five inches of rain. Bloom dates in 2006 were behind the average by one week yet conditions were excellent, yielding good fruit set. There was a record setting 10 day heat wave near the end of July. Most blocks had an exceptionally long veraison period beginning in early August, particularly in the Petit Verdot and Merlot. This may have been an effect caused by the extreme temperatures in July during berry formation. During veraison we anticipated the forecasted cooler autumn and took this time to adjust the crop; green harvesting was implemented to ensure ripening was more even. Grapes from our Barboza vineyard were the first to be picked and fermented for the 2006 Insignia blend; our Suscol vineyard was the last vineyard to be picked.