Winery: Joseph Phelps
Region: Napa Valley
Proprietary name: Insignia
Varietal: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Vedot, 1% Merlot
Average Price: $210 per bttl
Tasting Notes and thoughts: On the nose a round of juicy black raspberry, ripe summer plum and cassis lead off followed promptly by the supporting cast of powdered coco and vanilla we so often associate with rich Napa Cabernet. The palate does not let down the barrage of black fruits and soft creamy oak flavors. This wine is rather refined for an 05, made to please right away more so than later on down the road. What did stand out about this particular wine was an abundance of complexity in the mid palate and a certain grace that nears a sense of entitlement. While I will not pretend that this wine was not well made, and that in comparison to the average Cabernet Sauvignon found in Napa this effort is one step above the standard; I have to be honest about my feeling with regards to price and how this wine shows a trend in todays wine market. I do not see any reason this wine, as a product, should carry a $200+ price tag. If you are paying this much you are certainly not getting your moneys worth, that is, unless you purely want to show the fact that you paid a high dollar amount for a bottle, then this may be the wine for you. I spoke with a representative of Joseph Phelps who I will call “Larry”. Larry mentioned to me that this vintage (2005) is the first that they have had left over inventory. The “Insignia” elevated to uber wine status only a few years back after receiving the title “Wine of the vintage” by a popular wine publication is now having to ”hustle” their beloved product. The sad truth is that this wine is fantastic, and a pleasure to drink but, with the economy in a not so positive state wine brands like Joseph Phelps “Insignia” are having to defend (often times creatively) their reasoning for a huge price tag. None the less, if you can drink this wine for free you may feel an extra sense of satisfaction knowing that your $200 is safe at home in your bank account! Cheers!
Rating: 3.5 tastevins (special occasion wine, stand up wine, classic wine)