Disgustingly black purple dense absolutely impenetrable dark ruby with a sliver edge. Staining like Santa Barbara Syrahs. Big sharp graphite and mint bouquet rams itself up over a still, calm, blood-and-butter base punctuated by wet Portland cement. Fruit appears to be fat and round and yummy, not even taking a break to dole out the slight AL burn in the nose-hairs. Falling water and lilac, this is unmistakably Napa, and a concentrated direction. A bright, pungent layer of euc and cassis floats over the rich, elegant black-cherry and fuzzy-orange fruit. I can’t remember the last time I had this bottle–I’ve had the Insignia many MANY times over the years. Not sure I have ever had this wine, to be honest–it’s one of those top-shelf supermarket dealios up there with Tapestry and Sequoia Grove and Artemis and Caymus etc. etc. where the unsuspecting public is encouraged to drop 65 dollars on a bottle of wine on a Friday evening which will fit a corporate plan of marketability–tasting just enough good to wow and impress and just enough bad to flare the senses into a consortium of delirious evil: flabby, round, incredibly over-extracted and ripe, no unmistakable nuances of terrior or craft: a bottle EXACTLY like every bottle 5 or 6 on either side on the shelf. Such cookie-cutter wines… that faint soap-sudsy middle-ground nuance of a wine being dismantled and re-assembled in a lab. In the mouth, a harsh tannin? bitter hits instantly and awkwardly. Quite an interesting movement. Shrill and unforgiving, it coats everything in its knife-edge grasp, barely letting the thin but oh-so-desperately-trying-to-act-sophisticated fruit shine through–a trailer-park girl stumbling along in high-heel flip-flops, never able to out-shine her acrid surroundings. Next time you are tempted to plonk down the cache for ONE of these lackluster bottles, SEND ME THE MONEY and I will give you TWO bottles of REAL WINE.
2012 JOSEPH PHELPS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 14-5