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2019 Joseph Phelps Insignia

After purchasing a 600-acre cattle ranch in St. Helena in 1973, Joe Phelps set out to establish his identity planting vineyards in the Napa Valley landscape. By 1974, he introduced California’s first proprietary Bordeaux blend named Insignia. Year in and year out Joseph Phelps Winery continues to overachieve at every level. They set the bar for Napa Valley Cabernet higher with each vintage.

This cuvée is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Grapes are sourced from multiple estate-owned vineyards including Stag’s Leap District, Rutherford, Oak Knoll and St. Helena. Insignia is aged for 15 months in new French Oak barrels.

Maybe, I should avoid the intrigue and profess that this is the finest Insignia that I have tasted in over two decades and there have been many greats. This wine shows all the attributes of the great growing season in 2019.It has depth and complexity that is a step up from the 2018 Insignia. The color is dark garnet leaning toward opaque. Ripe, concentrated black fruits of boysenberry, blackberry and mulberry tilt the scales and are packed into this generous bottling. In between the silky, complex layers are dark molten chocolate, espresso, sweet oak and touch of graphite. The tannins are supple and round. It all comes together in a lengthy finish. The ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon blend without compromise.

By W Peter Hoyne

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