Insignia 2019

Joseph Phelps

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Tasting Notes

A very aromatic Insignia with pencil-shaving and graphite highlights to the dark fruit and blackberries. Full-bodied, yet tensioned and vertical, with very fine tannins that run deep and layered in the wine. Needs time to come together, but fantastic tension and structure. Try after 2027.

Score: 98

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com Maturity: 2027+ 16 July 2022

The classic Joseph Phelps bottling, released this year after three years of ageing in barrel and bottle. Espresso, cocoa bean, cassis, earth, crushed rock, leather, finely sculpted tannins in this most balanced of Napa vintages. The 2019 Insignia marks the first vintage to include fruit from the new Joseph Phelps vineyard named El Venadito, located in the Oak Knoll District, just south of the winery’s Yountville Vineyard. Owned by LVMH at time of release, but made under the former owners.

Score: 97

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com Maturity: 2025+ 02 June 2022

A solidly built Cabernet with a very direct persona, as dark currant, warmed fig reduction and blackberry fruit paste are bolted together with licorice root and singed cedar. Features an espresso crema hint on the finish, which keeps this on the dark, muscular side. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2023 through 2038.

Score: 94

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Maturity: 2023-2038 01 January 2022

Tasted from barrel, the 2019 Insignia is a mere infant. Swaths of tannin wrap around a core of dark fruit. The 2019 is a brooding, potent Insignia that is going to need time to come around.

Score: 94 - 97

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026 - 2039 01 January 2022

The 2019 Insignia is composed of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. The vineyard sources this year include: 32% Yountville (Oak Knoll District), 23% Banca Dorada (Rutherford), 14% Suscol (South Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch (St. Helena), 12% Las Rocas (Stags Leap District), 3% Barboza (Stags Leap District) and 2% El Venadito (Oak Knoll District). The wine is aging for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a little swirling to unlock a gorgeous perfume of black cherry compote, stewed plums and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of bay leaves, red roses, underbrush and pencil lead plus a hint of menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers impactful black fruit preserves layers with finely grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and layered. 18,000 cases are due to be made.

Score: 96 - 98

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com 18 March 2021

Much more expressive and complex compared to the backward, masculine Backus Vineyard (which is common when comparing these two cuvées), the 2019 Insignia offers a gorgeous perfume of crème de cassis, chocolate, lavender, dried flowers, tobacco, and leafy herbs. Possessing full-bodied richness, a layered, seamless texture, gorgeous tannins, and just a classy, balanced character, this beauty is going to shine with just 3-4 years of bottle age yet still cruise in cold cellars for 30 years. It actually reminds me slightly of the 1997.

Score: 96 - 98

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com 27 January 2021