Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Proprietary Red 2018 (Napa Valley, California) - [JS 99] [JD 98] [WE 98]  [WA 97+]

Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Proprietary Red 2018
(Napa Valley, California) - [JS 99] [JD 98] [WE 98] [WA 97+]


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JS99 JD98 WE98 WA97+
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About the Wine:
Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s most iconic wines. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator magazine in 2005 and Robert Parker Wine Advocate has awarded four perfect 100-point scores to the 1991, 1997, 2002 and 2007 vintages of Insignia.

Tasting Notes:
The 2018 Insignia opens with beautifully perfumed floral, dark fruit, anise and cigar box aromatics. A wine of depth, elegance and finesse, the palate is fresh and focused with creamy texture and layers of blackberry, mocha and black cherry. The seamless tannin structure and balance culminate in an uplifting, lengthy finish.

Vintage Notes:
The 2018 growing season in Napa Valley was marked by cool, mild weather. The cooler than normal spring delayed budbreak, bloom and veraison compared to the previous five year average. The mild weather patterns in August and September allowed for excellent overall phenological ripening and development of a complex aroma and flavor profile in the finished wines. Outstanding flavor development and color were key indicators of this exceptional vintage.

Technical Information

Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal Composition: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc from 100% estate grown vineyards:
Vineyard Sourcing: 30% Las Rocas Vineyard (Stags Leap District), 18% Yountville Vineyard (Oak Knoll District), 18% Suscol Vineyard (Napa Valley), 14% Home Ranch Vineyard (St. Helena), 13% Banca Dorada Vineyard (Rutherford), and 7% Barboza Vineyard (Stags Leap District).
Ageing / Cooperage:  24 months in 100% new French oak from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle, Demptos, Marcel Cadet and Sylvain.

Ratings & Reviews

99 Points - James Suckling:
"Blackberry and black chocolate with mint, conifer and clove. Sweet tobacco, violets and flowers, too. Some graphite. Cool and complex. Full-bodied with ultra fine, dusty tannins and a wonderful, extremely long finish. Savory and refined. A classic-styled 2018. This needs time, but is so approachable and gorgeous. One of the best Insignias ever. Alive and changing all the time. 40% Stags Leap AVA. 87% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot, 3% malbec and 2% cabernet franc. Leave this for five or six years, but so wonderful now." (3/23/2021)

98 Points - Jeb Dunnuck:
The 2018 Insignia checks in as 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and the rest Cabernet Franc, from a mix of vineyards (mostly in the southern part of the valley) aged two years in new French oak. It has an incredible bouquet of cassis, currants, dark chocolate, lead pencil, and tobacco, and while it's unquestionably Napa, it has a regal, structured, almost Bordeaux-like vibe as well. Full-bodied, perfectly balanced, and layered on the palate, with silky tannins, this quintessential Insignia is up with the finest vintages of this cuvée I've tasted and is in the same realm as the 1997 (the first vintage I bought for my personal cellar), 2001, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. (Dec. 2021)

98 Points - Wine Enthusiast:
"This impressive blend combines 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc, aging the whole for 24 months in 100% new French oak. Elements of cedar, sage, dried herb and underbrush meet rich red fruit and chalky tannins, with a dusting of cocoa throughout. Enjoy from 2028–2038. Cellar Selection." -VB, Dec. 2021

97+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes storming out of the glass with powerful notes of blackcurrant cordial, stewed black plums and boysenberries, plus hints of cedar chest, graphite, menthol and wet slate with a fragrant waft of clove oil. The medium to full-bodied palate already demonstrates remarkable balance at this youthful stage, featuring a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness to support the tightly wound, crunchy black fruits, finishing long and spicy. 17,000 cases were made." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (7/30/2021)


94 Points - Wine Spectator:
"This is richly layered, with cassis, crushed plum and blackberry puree flavors moving through slowly but steadily, while warm earth, ganache and black licorice notes follow along. Picks up a tarry edge on the finish as the fruit takes an encore. For fans of the muscular, fruit-driven style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2036. 17,000 cases made." - JM (10/30/2021)

93-96 Points - Vinous Media:
"The 2018 Insignia is a beautiful wine. It is also quite delicate and less bombastic than some recent vintages have been. Its hard to tell if that is just the personality of the year or if changes in farming and/or winemaking are also at play. I suppose time will tell. In the meantime, the 2018 is gorgeous Insignia with tons of potential. Blueberry jam, spice, menthol, dried herbs and licorice all develop in the glass, all lifted by the salivating acids of a long, cool growing season." - Antonio Galloni (1/2021)