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2010 Joseph Phelps InsigniaBlend from United States


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History of Insignia: "In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, just outside of St. Helena, and began planting vineyards and building a w...

  • 96+ Antonio Galloni - Vinous
  • 95 Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
  • 94+ Stephen Tanzer - Vinous Media
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"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."

95 Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"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 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)."

94+ Stephen Tanzer - Vinous Media

"(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)

Product Description:

History of Insignia:
"In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, just outside of St. Helena, and began planting vineyards and building a winery. The winery construction was completed in 1974 and that same year the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first vintage of Insignia was produced."

"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 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. Nearly forty years after the inaugural vintage, Insignia is recognized as one of the world's great wines." - Winery

"When Joe Phelps founded his estate winery and vineyards in 1973, he did so with a clear vision for the work and commitment that would be required to create the best wines possible. Essential to his goal was assembling a winemaking team who would embrace his dedication, attention to detail, and tremendous passion for the craft of winemaking itself. Today, the talented winemaking team of Ashley Hepworth, Napa Winemaker, Damian Parker, Director of Winemaking, Philippe Pessereau, Director of Vineyard Operations, Kelly Fields, Napa Assistant Winemaker and Justin Ennis, Freestone Assistant Winemaker, have taken Joe's vision to heights even he could never have imagined."

"Ashley summarizes the Joseph Phelps winemaking philosophy as: "...creating the very best wine from the vintage we've been given; to take what we get from the vineyard and to express the terroir and the beauty of the vineyard in every bottle of wine."" - Winery

Product Detail

Item # 74896
Country United States
Region California
Sub-Region Napa

96+ - Antonio Galloni - Vinous

95 - Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

94+ - Stephen Tanzer - Vinous Media

Vintage 2010
Color Red
ABV 14.5%
Varietal(s) Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec
Size 750 mL
Closure Cork
Taste currant, blackberry, cherry, bell pepper, olive, asparagus, spice, ginger, oak, vanilla, lead, cedar, molasses, dark fruit, black cherry, plum, smoke, toast, tar, pepper, earth, green and mocha
Nose currant, blackberry, cherry, cedar, cigar box, mocha, leather, vanilla, tobacco, violet, rose, truffle, earth, coffee and spice