Joseph Phelps Insignia (3 Liter) 1999
(tasted just off the bottling line; a blend of 71% cabernet sauvignon, 21% cabernet franc, 6% merlot and 1% each petit verdot and malbec) Deep ruby. Roasted aromas of currant, black cherry syrup, licorice and grilled nuts. Powerful but smooth and sweet, with superb, extremely unevolved dark berry flavors and a strong mineral note of graphite. Excellent acidity contributes to the impression of intensity. Very long, mounting finish features firm tannins and lively dark berry flavors. This bottling has been consistently superb in recent years, even in the difficult 1998 vintage.
Complex, with mature herb, dried currant, fresh earth and sage flavors that are focused and concentrated, gaining depth and complexity from midpalate on and then firming up and ending with chewy tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
There are 15,000 cases of the 1999 Insignia, a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Malbec. The core of this offering tends to come from Rutherford-grown fruit. The saturated dense purple-colored 1999 offers a tight but promising nose of incense, spice box, black fruits, and vanilla. This elegant, stylish, and medium to full-bodied offering is made in a more French-like, finesse style than such blockbusters as 1997, 1996, 1995, and 1994.