"The 2010 Insignia has totally closed down in bottle. Dark plums, graphite, pencil shavings, smoke and licorice all jump from the glass, but today the 2010 is in no mood to show all of its personality. Today the Petit Verdot seems especially pronounced. The tannins are sweet, layered and impeccably balanced, which makes me think the 2010 will enjoy a long drinking window once it softens. The 2010 is a beautiful, silky Insignia, but it needs time. The blend is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot and 2% Malbec." - 96+PtsAntonio Galloni - Vinous
"The stunning 2010 Insignia, which is now in bottle, was made from 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot and Malbec. 11,060 cases were produced, and it achieved 14.9% natural alcohol. A gorgeously intense bouquet of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, black currants, blackberries, and subtle smoke and foresty aromas jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine with soft tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish displaying well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. This beauty is one of the top Insignias produced over recent years.
All of Joseph Phelps’ Sonoma Coast Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs will be included in the Sonoma report in the December, 2013 issue. One of the visionaries in California’s Rhone Ranger movement that began a quarter of a century ago, Phelps continues to focus on their Syrah program. I have mixed emotions about that because they made some wonderful wines from some other Rhone varietals in the past under the terminated Mistral label. On the www.erobertparker.com website, I will be posting one of the most historical vertical tastings I have ever done, that of Joseph Phelps’ proprietary red Bordeaux blend called Insignia, which was one of California’s first proprietary red Meritage wines launched in 1974. While visiting this winery in early September, I had the privilege of tasting every vintage from 1974 to 2012. This has always been a remarkable wine and sadly I am old enough to remember the 1974, to which I gave a great rating, but then suggested it be drunk within 10-12 years. I never thought it would last. Of course, it turned out to be one of the great mature wines of the vertical tasting, but more on that on the web site. The five vintages of Insignia which consumers should be keeping an eye on are 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Here are my notes on those wines which are either on the market or soon will be. By the way, the production of Insignia over the last 15-20 years has ranged from a low of 10,000-12,000 cases to a whopping 20,000 cases, often with the highest production levels in some of the greatest years. There are usually around 750 to 1,300 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard. Usually 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it is fashioned from the red soils of the Oakville hillsides (a spectacular sight as you drive south on the Silverado Trail)." - 95PtsRobert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"(85% cabernet sauvignon with 10% petit verdot, 3% merlot and 2% malbec): Bright, deep red. Captivating violet lift to the aromas of cassis, minerals, bitter chocolate, licorice and sexy oak; I would have guessed this had a good deal of cabernet franc. Then extremely primary on the palate, but already showing a seductive sugar/acid balance. Boasts lovely clarity and lift to its dark fruit, minerals and bitter chocolate flavors. Finishes with a serious brace of tongue-dusting tannins and outstandingly subtle, juicy persistence. A brilliant showing considering it was bottled just a month prior to my visit: eight or ten years in the cellar may well bring an even higher score. A year ago, I preferred the 2009, but this evolved beautifully during its final months of elevage. Director of winemaker Damian Parker always destems the fruit but typically ferments with some whole berries. " (06/13) - 94+PtsStephen Tanzer - International Wine Cellar