97 Points Robert Parker (Wine Advocate): The blend of the 2008 Insignia, 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, is not terribly different from the 2007. However, I suspect the production will be a lot less given the frost damage in early spring. The color is an inky/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis, blueberry, graphite and floral notes, good acidity, stunning concentration and purity, and a long finish. Another great success for Phelps, the 2007 and 2008 Insignias may be the best back-to-back vintages they have produced since 1995 and 1994. The 2008 has some tannins to resolve whereas the 2007 has already assimilated them. It appears the 2008 will require 2-3 years of bottle age, but should last for three decades.
Grapes from each vineyard are vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, in contact with the skins, over an average period of 21 days. After malolactic fermentation, the blend is assembled within six month of harvest and aged approximately two years in new French oak barrels. The wine is then given a light filtration before bottling.
Joseph Phelps’ flagship wine, which they have been making for 36 years, is the Insignia, which boasts a remarkable track record. Phelps, always a visionary, was the first to recognize that a blend of grapes could be better than a single varietal cuvee. Phelps produces a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Backus Vineyard situated on the eastern slopes of the Oakville Corridor overlooking Screaming Eagle and Rudd Estate.