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New Customers Save $30* with code SEPTNEW30
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Joseph Phelps Insignia 2008
Blend: 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and4% Merlot
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia is a towering, statuesque wine bursting with blackberry jam, tar, spices, leather and licorice. It shows fabulous depth and richness backed up by serious, imposing tannins that suggest it has a long life. Ideally, the 2008 should be purchased by those who can be patient; it is not a wine for those seeking immediate gratification.
What a wonderful wine here. The nose shows a fabulous combination of dak fruits, chocolate, spices and caramel. The palate is silky textured with lots of ripe yet beautiful fruit and super silky, tight tannins. This is a balanced wine with all the potential to age for decades.
Dense and chewy, this is very tight and closed, but the glimpses of fruit offer tight mineral, crushed rock, graphite, dried currant, cedar and anise. Full-bodied and way too young to drink now, this needs time, but should provide years of rewarding drinking. Cab¬ernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Best from 2014 through 2026.
The 2008 reveals an opaque purple color in addition to blueberry and blackberry fruit notes intermixed with incense and violets. Barely approaching adolescence, it is still a grapy, primary, full-bodied beauty that will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring. It should drink well for 20-25 years.
A glamorous wine, rich and complex, with lots going on. Lacks perhaps some of the depth of, say, the '03 and '04, more on a par with the 2007, but still a very fine Insignia. With rich blackberry and cassis flavors wrapped into thick tannins and fine new oak sweetness, it's nowhere ready to drink now.
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.
The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. On the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.