Tasted in October, 2007, the wine was mute, offering little aromatically except for teasing notes of blackberries and oak. That shyness extended to the taste, where strong, hard tannins provide an almost impenetrable coat of armor to what’s inside. But right down the middle of the palate is a deep, intensely powerful stream of perfectly ripened cassis that’s all…
One of the first, if not the first, of the proprietarily named Napa Bordeaux blends, Phelps Insignia has been one of California’s greatest Cabs for decades. This is their 30th anniversary bottling, and it’s worthy of the tradition. Ultrarich and smooth, with a mouthfeel that’s pure velvet, it’s fairly thick in tannins now, suggesting cellaring. But it’s huge in…
A triumph. Aged nearly two years in all-new French oak, this massive wine stuns with its superb balance. Manages the elusive challenge of reining in hugely ripe black currant, cherry and oak flavors and sweet tannins while keeping the palate impression soft and alluring, almost feminine. Just gorgeous right out of the bottle, but should develop effortlessly through…
This is not a wine for tonight, or next year, or for at least the next six years. It’s shut down in tannins, with an astringency that can’t be overcome even with decanting, although that won’t stop people from opening it before its time. Buried beneath the tannins are well-developed black currant, roasted meat and cedar flavors that define upscale Napa Cab. Really…
Opens with aromas of black cherry and pencil lead, fruitcake and cookie dough; now it’s all one big melange wrapped a bit tight. The balance and immense depth of fruit shine, even in this unevolved state. Standard dark-plum and chocolate notes are rendered with uncommon subtlety here. The finish goes on and on. Needs four to six years, but will last and last.
You have to count this as another great Insignia, dry and complex and ageworthy, although the tannins are fierce now, and it may lack just a bit of the glamor of, say, the 2004 or 2001. It’s certainly a big wine that floods the mouth with blackberry, black currant, cassis and new oak flavors. The tannins and acids make it aloof, resistant, tough. It wants time in…
There are $15 Cabs that are better to drink now. This is so strong and fruity, so oaky, so tannic, it just overwhelms the palate in its extreme youth. Just massive in blackberries, black currants, coffee, cocoa, dried herbs and 100% new, smoky-sweet French. Ridiculous to open it anytime soon. Desperately needs time in the bottle, and the point score reflects…
A glamorous wine, rich and complex, with lots going on. Lacks perhaps some of the depth of, say, the ’03 and ’04, more on a par with the 2007, but still a very fine Insignia. With rich blackberry and cassis flavors wrapped into thick tannins and fine new oak sweetness, it’s nowhere ready to drink now. Give it a rest until 2015.