The proprietary name Insignia was selected to represent the finest lots available from each vintage, and to emphasize the importance of blending over varietal designation as a determinate of quality. Insignia has an inky dark hue and aromas of ripe blackberries, star anise, cigar box, clove, and sweet mocha notes. Richly opulent with velvety texture and supple tannins, this full-bodied offering envelops the palate in luscious, lingering black plum and violets along with layers of baking spices.
In the late 1960s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S., Hensel Phelps Construction Company, when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 Joe bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards and construction of a winery. The first harvest in 1973 yielded cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, and Johannisburg riesling bottlings, all custom crushed at nearby wineries. The Joseph Phelps winery was completed in 1974 in time for harvest, crushing grapes for the first Insignia and the first syrah bottlings.