95 Point Wine Advocate: The 2010 Insignia is striking. Cool, mineral notes frame a core of blue and black fruit, licorice, spices, smoke, and melted road tar as this stunning wine opens up in the glass. Totally alive in the glass, the 2010 captures the essence of this cold, late harvest. Hints of menthol, violets and crushed rocks all flow through to the incisive, vibrant finish. My sense is that the 2010 is still holding back much of its significant potential. The 2010 is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot and 2% Malbec.
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.
In 1973, Joe Phelps bought a 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, just outside of St. Helena, and began planting vineyards and building a winery. The winery construction was completed in 1974 and that same year the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first vintage of Insignia was produced.
Insignia is the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blend produced in California. Each vintage is comprised of the best grapes from Joseph Phelps Vineyards, first from both grower and estate fruit, and beginning with the 2004 vintage, from entirely estate-grown fruit sources. Insignia is a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine crafted from six of the Joseph Phelps estate vineyards: Spring Valley Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena, Banca Dorada Vineyard on the Rutherford Bench, Las Rocas and Barboza Vineyards in the Stags Leap District, Yountville Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Suscol Vineyard in South Napa Valley.