(95 Points) Since 2004, 100% of the Bordeaux varietals used in the Insignia proprietary blend have been from estate vineyards. The beautiful, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Insignia (a 12,500-case blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec) possesses sweet aromas of black cherries, cassis, chocolate, camphor, and a subtle hint of roasted herbs. Medium to full-bodied and elegant, with a European style imposed on the rich, velvety, California fruit, this cuvee will benefit from several years of bottle age, and should easily keep for three decades.
The Freestone Vineyard, a 100-acre, cool climate site planted on the Sonoma Coast by Joseph Phelps, is finally coming into production, offering consumers a bevy of different Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. There are three Chardonnay offerings, all of which emphasize the minerality and citrusy characteristics of this varietal with little intrusive oak, despite the fact that they are barrel-fermented and aged primarily in new French oak. The Cabernet Sauvignon program consists of three wines, the Cabernet Sauvignon, their famous proprietary red wine called Insignia, and their single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the western hillsides of Oakville, called Backus. The regular Cabernet is a solidly made, reliable effort usually comprised of about 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and occasionally Malbec. The single vineyard offering comes from Oakvilleâ€™s Backus Vineyard. There are typically 1,500-2,500 cases produced from this biodynamically farmed vineyard. Wine Advocate # 180 Dec 2008