99pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Bottled in January 2019, the 2016 Insignia is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak barrels. 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.
99pts Wilfred Wong
No matter how many Cabs or clarets I taste in my lifetime, the Joseph Phelps Insignia always stands at the head of the class. It is one of the wines amongst a handful of others that I place in that proverbial "desert island" category. The 2016 vintage is magnificent.
This wine is complete. Its lovely aromas and flavors are impactful and wonderous on the palate. Enjoy its rush of bold, ripe black fruits, and earth with a grilled, well-marbled ribeye topped with minced shallots. (Tasted: February 20, 2020, St. Helena, CA)
98pts 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. Try after 2022.
98pts 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. Enjoy 2026–2031.
97pts 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.
96pts Connoisseurs' Guide
84% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Petit Verdot; 3% Malbec; 3% Cabernet Franc. We may well be accused of being monotonous and even a bit biased in the perennial praise that Insignia earns in these pages, but we would remind that we evaluate every wine blind, and, when all is said, tasted and done, Phelps’s flagship bottling is special, very sophisticated stuff and once again claims a place at the very head of the class. It is complex, it is polished and it is extraordinarly deep with an unsurpassed fusion of fruity richness and grace, and if, as usual, it shows the integral tannins of a wine destined to be very long lived, those short on patience and used to savoring young Cabernets cannot fail to find it other than irresistible even now
95pts 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.
This vintage of Insignia accurately reflects the cooler year, and the result is a lifted, energetic showing of this yardstick Napa Valley wine – a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc. Aromas of raspberry compote, black cherry and fresh violets seamlessly transition onto the palate, joining succulent liquorice and cigar box spice. The finish is impressively expansive and lingering. While decidedly modern in style, it is done with a deft touch.
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.
Blend: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc