The rarest offering of Insignia in twenty years, 2017 Insignia opens in the glass with heady aromas of mocha, cedar, roasted espresso, blueberry and ripe plum. Fresh and focused with building layers of black cherry, blackberry preserve, spice box and vanilla essence. Plush, velvety texture and seamless tannins culminate in a lengthy, lingering finish. Blend: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc.
97 Points - Wilfred Wong of Wine Somewhere in the archives of my early journals are my notes of the 1974 Joseph Phelps—tasted circa 1978. That once-in-a-lifetime wine (Hmm, do I have too many once-in-a-lifetime wines?) was so memorable that I can still recall its taste to this very day. The 2017 vintage puts a smile on my face as it continues this magic carpet ride of a lifetime. This wine is enticing with its aromas of blackcurrants, dust, earth, and a suggestion of oak. Pair its elegance with a well-seasoned oven-baked, rack of lamb.
96 Points - Decanter This has a real sense of freshness and grip. A pure expression of Cabernet with a shot of eucalyptus and menthol, extremely concentrated but with elegance and power. The tannins just grip on to your palate and don't let go leading to a lovely chewy finish. This is great stuff, with a discernibly finessed style that shows a fine tannic balance magnified through the lens of Californian heat and laced through with cassis, espresso and chocolate block. Great structure, this will take a few decades of ageing in its stride. 100% new oak, from five vineyards around Napa Valley, mainly in Stags Leap and Oak Knoll.
96 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate The 2017 Insignia is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc coming from: 46% Las Rocas vineayrd (Stags Leap District), 22% Barboza vineyard (Stags Leap District), 13% Suscol vineyard (South Napa Valley), 10% Yountville vineyard (Oak Knoll District) and 9% Home Ranch (St. Helena). It was aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant scents of Black Forest cake, preserved plums and blueberry pie plus touches of redcurrant jelly, potpourri, clove oil and dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has gained weight from it's in-barrel offering, boasting rich, decadently perfumed black fruit preserves flavors with a racy backbone and velvety tannins, finishing long and spicy.
96 Points - James Suckling A beautiful, focused wine with a tight center palate of blackberries, blueberries and dark chocolate. Very subtle. Hints of mint and sage, too. Medium to full body and fine, racy tannins. A reserved and very pretty Insignia. Fresh finish. Hard not to drink now, but better in 2022.
96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck Tasted out of bottle, the 2017 Insignia is beautiful stuff that excels in the vintage. Revealing a dense purple color as well as stunning notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, tobacco, and earth, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a silky, seamless texture, building tannins, and a great finish. It has the more linear, elegant style of the vintage, yet it’s balanced, has ample concentration, and is just a gorgeous wine that will evolve for 30 years or more.
94 Points - Wine Spectator Delivers showy fruit, with layered flavors of warmed boysenberry, blackberry and açaí berry paste, framed by a subtle alder hint and backed by warm earth and cast iron details on the finish. Not shy, and well-built for the vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2038.