Joseph Phelps Insignia 2003
One of the first, if not the first, of the proprietarily named Napa Bordeaux blends, Phelps Insignia has been one of California’s greatest Cabs for decades. This is their 30th anniversary bottling, and it’s worthy of the tradition. Ultrarich and smooth, with a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet, it’s fairly thick in tannins now, suggesting cellaring. But it’s huge in blackberry, dark unsweetened chocolate and spicy plum fruit, and will easily hold for a very long time. Best now, if carefully decanted, and through 2020.
The 2003 has performed well in recent tasting, showing a dense purple color along with notes of creosote, lavender, flowers, creme de cassis, espresso roast, white chocolate and a hint of oak. Still in a young adolescent stage, it should drink nicely for another 15-20 years.
Full ruby-red. Slightly jammy aromas of blackberry, mocha and dark chocolate. Not especially dense or fleshy but has an attractive juicy quality and good life. Dominated by a flavor of black raspberry. Finishes with big, firm, rather fine tannins.