2009 Phelps, Joseph Insignia Proprietary Red Wine
Proprietary Blend - 1.5L
  • CG 96
  • WE 96
  • WA 95
  • ST 93
  • JS 92
  • WS 91
  • W&S 91

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CG 96
Connoisseur's Guide, December 2012
It is quite clear by now that 2009 is proving to be a standout year for Cabernet but within the crowd of outstanding wines this one holds its head just a bit higher. It is as Insignia always is a wine of exceptional... It is quite clear by now that 2009 is proving to be a standout year for Cabernet but within the crowd of outstanding wines this one holds its head just a bit higher. It is as Insignia always is a wine of exceptional crafting and polish and yet in this outing it seems to have an extra measure of richness and fruity strength not to mention plenty of grippy structural tannins. There is an almost brooding aspect about it that suggests that it is not yet even close to showing all that it has and it looks very likely to be among the more age-worthy and longest lived Insignias of recent years. Bravo!
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast, December 2012
Another great Insignia from Phelps continuing a streak that goes back for many years. Shows a mastery of the art of blending comprised of grapes from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right... Another great Insignia from Phelps continuing a streak that goes back for many years. Shows a mastery of the art of blending comprised of grapes from at least six vineyards scattered from Yountville to St. Helena. Right out of the bottle it's simply delicious a soft smoothly tannic wine 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 100% new French oak. Just gorgeous now and should develop bottle complexity for at least the next ten years.
WA 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, December 2012
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... 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. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. -Antonio Galloni
ST 93
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, April 2016
93+ Bright dark ruby. Rather brooding aromas of cassis and licorice. Very young, even a bit medicinal today, conveying intense black fruit and chocolate flavors and an element of thickness leavened by fresh acidity. This... 93+ Bright dark ruby. Rather brooding aromas of cassis and licorice. Very young, even a bit medicinal today, conveying intense black fruit and chocolate flavors and an element of thickness leavened by fresh acidity. This extremely primary wine finishes very long but strongly tannic, with its finishing fruit currently dominated by its spine. This wine was easier to taste upon its release in late 2012 and still needs a lot of time in the cellar. The winery started doing longer maceration in 2008 and 2009, said Hepworth, who also told me that there was heat in September but that the fruit in many spots was not fully ripe when four inches of rain fell in mid-October. Insignia, however, was made with fruit that was in by then. Phelps rushed to pick in Suscol owing to some mold growth but declassified the affected fruit. "In 2009 we learned not to wait too long to pick," said Hepworth, who rates 2009 and 2011 the trickiest vintages since she took over winemaking responsibilities in 2008.
JS 92
jamessuckling.com, January 2011
A solid core of fruit with currants minerals fresh mint and stones. Full bodied and chewy. The mid palate should fill in later.
WS 91
Wine Spectator, August 2012
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... 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. Best from 2014 through 2024. -J.L.
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits, December 2012
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... 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.
Color & Type Red
Varietal Proprietary Blend
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Vintage 2009

Label

First produced from the iconic 1974 vintage, Phelps Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, initially from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Grapes from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards go into Insignia: Spring Valley Home Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley.

Winery

Phelps, Joseph

In the late 1960’s, Joseph Phelps, a successful construction company owner from Colorado, came to the Napa Valley to build a winery for Souverain (now Rutherford Hill). Like many others, he fell in love with the region and the industry and in 1974, he completed construction on his own eponymously named Joseph Phelps Winery, just in time to harvest the first vintages of Syrah and Insignia. Four decades later, Phelps Insignia is recognized as one of the world’s great and most highly-rated wines.

Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Since 2004, all Phelps wines are made from estate-grown fruit, including Phelps Insignia, the estate labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier, the Oakville single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Backus’, Eisrebe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape, and Syrah from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard.

Joe Phelps also had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. He found the ideal spot for the perfect combination of climate, soil and location in Freestone, in the Sonoma Coast AVA. In 1999, he began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone and in 2005, construction began on a new winery. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name under the Freestone label.