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Joseph Phelps Insignia 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
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750ML / 14.5% ABV
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4.4 45 Ratings
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4.4 45 Ratings
750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2012 Insignia has an inky dark hue and aromas of ripe blackberries, star anise, cigarbox, clove and sweet mochanotes. Richly opulent with velvety texture and supple tannins, this full-bodied offering envelops the palate in luscious, lingeringblack plum and violets along with layers of baking spices.

Blend: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 97
James Suckling
Amazing aromas of blueberry, blackberry, mineral and bark. Complex nose. Full body plus super integrated tannins with superb balance and depth. Coffee and chocolate too. Very long and mind-bending. A tribute to the vintage. Drink or hold. A long life ahead of it. A blend of 75% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 10% petit verdot, 3% malbec, and 2% cabernet franc.
JD 97
Jeb Dunnuck
Another sensational 2012 is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia, which is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Aged two years in new barrels, this is a decidedly opulent, sexy wine that has loads of crème de cassis, roasted herbs, lead pencil, lavender, and exotic spice. With a massive, expansive, broad, yet also weightless texture, it has a stacked mid-palate, no shortage of structure, and a blockbuster finish. It’s an incredible Cabernet that can be drunk today with incredible pleasure or cellared for two decades or more.
RP 96
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The flagship wine of the estate in reds is their Insignia, which has been one of the great Bordeaux blends made in California since the debut vintage in 1974. It usually has 30+ years aging potential, even in lighter vintages, of which the 2012, 2013 and 2014 are decidedly not. The 2012 Proprietary Red Insignia, a final blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and the rest Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc all from estate vineyards, was aged 24 months in 100% new French oak. There are 15,000 cases of it, and it’s a fabulous, classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky purple to the rim, with notes of lead pencil shavings, incense, camphor, blackberry and creme de cassis, the wine is full-bodied, offering a multi-layered, textural, skyscraper-like mouthfeel, terrific purity, density and richness. All of this is achieved without a sense of heaviness or anything aggressive. This is a beauty to drink now and over the next 30 years.
CG 95
Connoisseurs' Guide
As rich and as deep as can be in the nose and immediately impressing as a very serious Cabernet with elements of black olives, hardwood spice and loamy soils overlying its very sure, highly concentrated, black currant fruit, the latest Insignia is a layered, multi-faceted offering of striking richness and range. It is both weighty and fairly supple with a proper spine of youthful tannin, yet as Insignia is so often wont to do, it already shows a somewhat polished side that predicts a fairly refined future. Still, it is not a wine to be drunk down in haste, and its high recommendation comes with the urging that it be given time to reach its best.
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
In this vintage, the producer's beloved blend is a commingling of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Two years in new French oak give it a youthful, tannic nature around smoky black cherry, burly leather and full-bodied richness and concentration. Further time in the bottle should coax out the blackberry and cherry; cellar through 2027.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Packs a wallop, perhaps overly so, with extracted dark berry flavors and tannic muscle. The drying sensation on the finish distracts from the ripe blackberry, earth, cedar and gravel notes. Aromas of cassis, currant and blackberry offer more promise. Either way, this is built to cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2017 through 2030.
W&S 92
Wine & Spirits
This vintage of Insignia is 75 percent cabernet sauvignon, 10 percent each merlot and petit verdot, with the balance in malbec and franc. It’s Phelps’s most ambitious red, wearing its oak aging like a thick velvet curtain, but one that pulls aside to reveal deeply saturated flavors of plum, black cherry, cedar and tobacco. There’s some delicacy to the wine, apparent in a hint of lavender and rose, carried along on a gracious finish. A great vintage of Insignia, worthy of long aging in a cool cellar.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, California
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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.

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Napa Valley

Red Wine

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Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.

Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.

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GDS140319_2012 Item# 140319