Winemaker Notes The 2016 Insignia is fresh and focused on entry with expressive cocoa powder, graphite and earthy spices. Elegant and complex with a supple, creamy texture and bold tannins, this latest vintage offers luscious ripe plum and blackberry character with hints of roasted coffee and dark cherry throughout the palate to a long, velvety finish.
Vintage Notes The 2016 Napa Valley growing season began with a mild winter resulting in early bud break for some blocks at the beginning of March. A normal period of bloom and veraison took place in early May and mid-July, respectively. The 2016 growing season was cooler compared to the previous three vintages, allowing for aromas and flavors to develop slowly in the red varieties yielding classic Cabernet Sauvignon from each of our vineyards.
99 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is a little reticent to begin, needing a fair bit of coaxing to reveal beautifully beguiling notions of wild blueberries, warm blackberries, black currant cordial, cloves and cedar chest with nuances of camphor, yeast extract, charcuterie and candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic elegance and depth, revealing loads of subtle floral, black fruit and earthy layers with a firm, very finely grained texture and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length. (Oct. 2019)
98 Points - #28 Top 100 Wines of the USA 2019 - James Suckling
Lovely density and intensity with dark berries, blueberries and inky undertones with hints of spice, chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. The texture and length are fantastic here. Complex. Hints of smoky wood at the end. This needs three to five years more in bottle age. Exciting wine. (May 2019)
98 Points & Cellar Selection | California's Top 10 Collectible Wines - Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast
This is a lengthy, powerful blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Together they coalesce as one seamless, complex experience of black currant, brambly berry and black pepper, with accents of graphite, pencil and cedar. Robust in tannin and youthful energy, it will benefit from aging. (Nov. 2019)
97 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Is the 2016 Insignia the next 1997? Coming mostly from the Stags Leap region, with the rest from the Home Ranch, this deep purple-colored beauty offers a magical bouquet of crème de cassis, fruitcake, forest floor, tobacco leaf, and toasted spices. It shows even more complexity with time in the glass and is a full-bodied, powerful, ageworthy example of this cuvée that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 25+ years or more. (Jan. 2020)
97 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous
The 2016 Insignia has turned out beautifully. Silky, layered and positively striking, the 2016 is magnificent. In this vintage, Insignia is especially silky, refined and understated, which is unusual for this wine that has often been more bombastic. Readers will have to be patient with the 2016, as it needs at least several years in bottle to be at its very best, but this is all finesse and class. (Jan. 2020)
96 Points - Decanter
Made by longtime winemaker Ashley Hepworth, Joseph Phelps 'Insignia' is a blue chip stock in the Napa Valley. The wine - first made in 1974 - was the valley’s first proprietary 'Bordeaux blend'. It comes from non-contiguous estate vineyards, mostly on the valley floor and lower hillsides. Insignia has a certain old fashioned character. The 2016, a bit oaky at first, is also packed with juicy, dense, sweet berry flavours, plus notes of tobacco and graphite. More than many Insignias when they are young, the 2016 already possesses a wonderful thick softness and length. -Karen MacNeil (Oct. 2019)
95 Points - Wine Spectator
This is laden with dark currant, blackberry and black cherry preserve flavors, infused gently with alder, incense and black tea notes, all carried by a long swath of fine-grained tannins. Hints of warm stone and tobacco gild the finish. Best from 2021 through 2035. -JM (July 2019)
25 Splurge-Worthy CA Reds - Food & Wine
Toasty aromas of carpaccio, black cherries, cassis, blackberries, black cardamom, and maduro cigar tobacco tee up an effusive, brilliantly calibrated palate that vibrates with acid-zipped flavors of mixed cherries, huckleberries, blueberries, and espresso, all of it lingering with notes of violets, sandalwood, tobacco, and pencil shavings. This is built for the long-haul. (Nov. 2019)
Blend and Grape Sources 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc from estate-grown Napa Valley vineyards: 29% Las Rocas Vineyard (Stags Leap District), 23% Suscol Vineyard (South Napa), 20% Yountville Vineyard (Oak Knoll District), 18% Barboza Vineyard (Stags Leap District) and 10% Home Ranch Vineyard (St. Helena).
Appellation Napa Valley
Aging/Cooperage 24 months in 100% new French oak from coopers Taransaud, Dargaud Jaegle, Demptos, Marcel Cadet and Sylvain.