Wine Advocate 95 points - Since 2004, 100% of the Bordeaux varietals used in the Insignia proprietary blend have been from estate vineyards. The beautiful, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Insignia (a 12,500-case blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot) possesses sweet aromas of black cherries, cassis, chocolate, camphor, and a subtle hint of roasted herbs. Medium to full-bodied and elegant, with a European style imposed on the rich, velvety, California fruit, this cuvee will benefit from several years of bottle age, and should easily keep for three decades. ” (Dec 2008)
Blend and Grape Sources
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot from estate-owned vineyards in Rutherford (30%), South Napa (22%), the St. Helena home ranch (17%) and Stags Leap District (Barboza Vineyard, 17% and Las Rocas Vineyard, 14%).
Harvest Dates Sept. 29 to Nov. 1, 2005
Winemaking Data Grapes were harvested Sept. 29 Nov. 1 at an average 25.0 Brix, fermented in stainless steel tanks for 14- 21 days (with additional vatting time of 1 to 2 weeks) and aged 24 months in 100% new 60-gallon French oak barrels from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud, Jaegle, Nadalie, Demptos and Vicard. The wine was bottled in February 2008.
Winemaker Notes The initial blend assembled in April of 06 was quite reticent. Not until early 07 did the wine blossom in barrel showing amazing depth, texture and vibrant fruit qualities. Deeply colored, concentrated and layered, with floral, anise, black cherry and graphite aromas, this wine is classically structured with excellent acidity, well-balanced tannins and a mouth-staining, persistent finish.
Vintage Notes The beginning of 2005 was wet between January and the end of June there was an accumulation of approximately 25 inches of rain, which helped sustain the larger than normal crop load. It is interesting to note that the significant bud fruitfulness and larger than normal cluster size in 2005 was due to perfect weather conditions in June/July of 2004 when the buds were forming. In 2005, what turned into optimum weather conditions during bud break, bloom and set just solidified the crop size. Shoots had three clusters instead of the normal two, and thinning passes were conducted during the unusually temperate summer to balance the vine, improve air and light distribution within the vine canopy and ensure optimal quality. The extended hang time in 2005 also allowed for the development of balanced sugar and acidity in the cluster.
Release Date Fall, 2008.
|Wine maker notes
|Grapes from each vineyard are vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, in contact with the skins, over an average period of 21 days. After malolactic fermentation, the blend is assembled within six month of harvest and aged approximately two years in new French oak barrels. The wine is then given a light filtration before bottling.
|In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.
Nearly four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Twenty nine of 34 vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oakville.