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Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines reviewed over the previous 12 months and select our Top 100, based on quality, value, availability and excitement. This annual list honors successful wineries, regions and vintages around the world.
Insignia 1994 was on the third place in the Wine of the Year list in 1997
This Bordeaux-inspired red blend is remarkably elegant and supple, with a silky smooth texture and a wonderful array of ripe currant, plum, cedar, coffee and vanilla flavors that keep pumping through the long, full, lingering aftertaste. Delicious. 88 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Merlot, 2 percent Cabernet Franc. 8,000 cases made. — 96 points
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.’
88% Cabernet Sauvignon, primarily estate-owned from the Las Rocas Vineyard in the Stags Leap district and Banca Dorada on the Rutherford Bench, with a small percentage coming from the Backus Vineyard in Oakville; 10% Las Rocas and Carneros Merlot; 2% Banca Dorada Cabernet Franc.
Sep 22 - Oct 18, 1994
Grapes were harvested from September 22, - October 18, 1994 at an average 23.5 degrees Brix, fermented to 13.5% alcohol, then aged 28 months in French oak barrels before being bottled in February, 1997.
In 1994, after a long, cool growing season, 65% of our crop was still hanging on the vine by October 4, when an unexpected thunderstorm swept through the Napa Valley. In its wake, a spell of warm weather dried out the vineyards and caused a rapid rise in grape sugars, and although more rain was forecast, a window of opportunity for harvesting presented itself during the week of October 9-15, when much of the crop achieved optimal ripeness. During this time we picked a total of 783 tons, or half our estimate for the entire harvest! Grape quality was excellent, and critics are citing the vintage as one of the best in the last twenty years.
September 1, 1997