Joseph Phelps Insignia 2009
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The 2009 Insignia has a beautiful deep garnet hue with incredible depth and concentration. Aromas of freshly crushed blueberries and blackberries intertwined with baking spices, cigar box and attractive floral notes are followed by seamless tannins, texture and finish. This wine is focused and fresh, with a youthful showiness.
Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec from 100% estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards.
Wine Enthusiast - "This wine continues a long-standing tradition, showing a mastery of the art of blending. It’s made using grapes that are sourced from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right out of the bottle, it’s a soft, smoothly tannic wine that’s rich in blackberry jam, black currant, blueberry, raspberry, dark chocolate and spice flavors. The wine, which contains small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec, is so powerful, it easily carries the 100% new French oak. Just gorgeous now, and it should develop bottle complexity for at least the next 10 years."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "A gorgeous, totally voluptuous wine, the 2009 Insignia bursts from the glass with exuberant blue and black fruit, grilled herbs, cloves and cassis. In 2009, the Insignia is silky and polished, yet there is considerable underlying tannin that needs time to soften. Layers of fruit flow effortlessly to the huge, structured finish. I imagine the 2009 Insignia will enjoy a broad drinking window. It is striking today, but also clearly has the stuffing to age for many, many years. The 2009 is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot."
International Wine Cellar - "Good deep ruby. Rich but youthfully stunted aromas of plum, currant, chocolate, licorice and mint. Then plush, fine-grained and sweet on the palate, with excellent fat and a loamy complexity to the flavors of blackcurrant, dark chocolate and graphite. This has evolved nicely since I tasted it a year ago from barrel. In a distinctly generous style but structured for a long life in bottle. Finishes with gripping, tongue-saturating tannins and terrific chocolatey length."
James Suckling - "A solid core of fruit, with currants, minerals, fresh mint, and stones. Full bodied and chewy. The mid palate should fill in later."
Wine Spectator - "Combines deep, ripe dark berry fruit with crushed rock, cedar and lead pencil notes. A step back in richness and complexity for Insignia, this is built for cellaring. Tannins have a green, bitter edge. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Insignia (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec) is tighter and more restrained, and appears to be going through that inevitable stage when, after a year or two in the bottle, many Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines close down and reveal their huge structure and tannic ferocity. The inky/purple-colored 2009 possesses plenty of creme de cassis, bouquet garni, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla and toast characteristics. It is full-bodied, but the tannins are formidable and the wine seems to be in one of those broodingly backward stages that require patience from potential buyers. There were 10,540 cases produced, so it was a modestly sized vintage, and the wine is slightly lower in alcohol than the 2008.
Wine & Spirits - "Extravagantly rich, this seems to be perfumed by its tannins. Its heady, gravelly power and spicy black fruit is cut short in the finish, yielding to the wine's alcohol. With several years in bottle, this will be ready to decant for a thick cut rib eye."
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
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