426 Ratings
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia

Wine Details

Wine Description

With the release of the 1974 Insignia in the spring of 1978, Joseph Phelps Vineyards became the first California winery to produce a blend of the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grape varieties of Bordeaux under a proprietary label. Considered innovative at the time, the Insignia name was selected to represent the finest available production in each vintage year, and became the first proprietary wine of California to place blending above either varietal or vineyard designation as a determinant of quality. It would not be followed until a decade later by the second such wine, Opus One, and Insignia has remained the benchmark of this category for over a quarter century. Insignia is an opulent wine of concentration, complexity and structure, with a superb balance of finely tuned acidity and dense, velvety tannins. Cassis, liquorice and spice are abundant on the palate, with notes of eucalyptus and earth. The finish is sweet, elegant and extended.

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    Inky. Nose of plum, bergamot, mocha, graphite and spice. Very smooth. Flavors include cocoa, blackberry, black pepper and curry. Lush finish. Blue and black fruit, licorice, spices and smoke.

    about 4 years
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    Had with Lynne, Jenny and Paul McMasters at home. Decent wine but not worth the price tag

    over 3 years
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    One if my favirites!

    almost 4 years
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    almost 4 years
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    about 1 year
Expert Reviews
Read all 4 expert reviews
  • Robert Parker
    A gorgeously intense bouquet of lead pencil shavings, spring flowers, black currants, blackberries, and subtle smoke and foresty aromas jumps from the glass of this full-bodied, rich, concentrated wine with soft tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a long, rich finish displaying well-integrated acidity, tannin, alcohol and wood. This beauty is one of the top Insignias produced over recent years. It should age easily for 20+ years.
  • Wine Spectator
    Firm, dense and deeply concentrated, this offers a powerful thrust of flavors, with mocha- and espresso-laced blackberry, black licorice and cedar notes, revving up on the finish. Pure, driven and persistent, this seems set for a long life. Best to cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2015 through 2028.—J.L.
  • International Wine Cellar
  • Wine Enthusiast