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In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the...
Expressive blackberry, cocoa powder, Bergamot and floral aromatics start the show. Concentrated black fruit, mocha, cardamom and Madagascar vanilla appear on the fresh and focused palate. This is an opulent and rich wine with supple tannin structure and balance.
Vintage report from Joseph Phelps Vineyards: The 2014 Napa Valley growing season began with mild winter temperatures and dry conditions until February. Spring rains brought much needed moisture to the soil and filled the vineyard reservoirs. Bud break occurred three to four weeks earlier than 2013 with a long period between bud break and bloom. Frost was of no issue and the February and March rains provided for optimum vine growth. Consistent temperatures during the summer growing months with very few heat spikes created ideal ripening conditions for an early harvest. At the onset of harvest, the flavors, acidity and tannins were farther along in their development than the two previous years. Grapes achieved phenomenal fruit characteristics early and their maturation occurred at a steady, even pace. Consistency in the blocks and intense flavors at harvest were key characteristics to 2014.
Significant focus is placed on Insignia-designated blocks. Vineyards are diligently managed throughout the season to ensure optimal, even ripening. Grapes are picked, sorted and fermented separately.
- 97 Points -
James Suckling, May 2017
The blackberry, dark-chocolate and walnut aromas are persuasive. Full body, a dense and fruity center palate and beautiful depth and intensity. The tannin texture is exceptional. Great wine.See detailed press review
- 96 Points -
The 2014 Insignia is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Malbec and Cabernet Franc (no Merlot whatsoever). Production was slightly higher at 14,500 cases. This wine has an inky bluish purple color, a big, sweet kiss of crème de cassis, blackberry, blueberry, and hints of graphite and charcoal. It is floral, full-bodied, with tremendous opulence and richness. It is more approachable than the more structured and muscular 2013, but its is certainly no wimpy wine, given its level of extract and richness. It is another beauty, with the oak well-disguised by the extravagant fruit extract. Drink it over the next 30+ years.See detailed press review
- (94-97) Points -
The 2014 Insignia is shaping up to another magnificent wine from Joseph Phelps. Vibrant and savory, the 2014 pulses with energy, tension and pure power. Black cherry, crème de cassis, smoke, graphite and cloves are layered into the super-expressive, chiseled finish. In 2014, there is no Merlot, which gives the wine a slightly more savory and tannic edge than is the norm.See detailed press review