The three best vintages of Phelps Insignia in the last 20 years have been the 1997, 2002 and 2007. This wine will not disappoint. As Robert Parker notes in his review: "I wished I had purchased more of this spectacular wine for my personal collection." Check out the $469 price tag at Total Wine & More.
RP 100: The 2002 boasts an inky/purple color along with notes of graphite, violets, blackberries, creme de cassis and hints of charcoal and barbecue in addition to a full-bodied, multilayered mouthfeel that builds incrementally with great purity, staggering fruit concentration, and a long, velvety, 50+-second finish. This prodigious effort should continue to drink well for 20+ years.
One of my all-time favorite vintages for Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2002 was warmer overall than 2001, but was cooler in May and throughout the summer. Unusually foggy conditions were apparent in July and August, and by September, when a warming trend began, the weather became remarkably dry and beautiful. That was followed by cool weather in early October, which allowed the grapes to be harvested under textbook conditions. Napa’s 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines tend to be flamboyant, All-American, juicy and extroverted with relatively high alcohols. There are 15,000 cases of the 2002 Insignia, a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec that hit 14.4% alcohol. Eighty-five percent of the fruit came from the estate vineyards and the balance from growers. I wish I had purchased more of this spectacular wine for my personal collection.
WS 96: Rich flavors fan out, the way you hope for, coating the palate with layers of currant, fresh earth, mineral, cedar, tobacco, mocha, black licorice and espresso. The tannins are firm and the structure built for a longer haul. Very much in its infancy still at age 10, it finds that unusual bridge between dense Napa fruit and a Bordeaux build. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.—2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective (May 2012). Drink now through 2032. 15,000 cases made.
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