Joseph Phelps Insignia 2010
Blend: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot and 2% Malbec
This is, as always, a gorgeous wine, rich, balanced and delicious. It shows classic Napa Valley ripeness, with blackberry jam, plum, dark chocolate and sweet oak flavors. Plush and velvety doesn’t begin to do it justice. Despite its fabulous lushness, this is a wine to age. Depending on your taste, it will provide excellence from now until 2030.
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. 96+
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.
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.
Firm, dense and deeply concentrated, this offers a powerful thrust of flavors, with mocha- and espresso-laced blackberry, black licorice and cedar notes, revving up on the finish. Pure, driven and persistent, this seems set for a long life. Best to cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2015 through 2028.
It is a very rare outing in which Insignia does not rank among the best and nothing has changed in 2010. Right from the start, this latest effort impresses with its depth, its obvious polish and its vibrancy, and, while never wanting for ripeness, it is a wonderfully layered and patently sophisticated wine of real pedigree. Its ample, but decidedly fine tannins and its firm acid balance mark it as one that will evolve handsomely for a decade or two despite the fact that its refinement is sure to tempt early drinking, and it deserves to be set aside and patiently saved for special occasions.