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Jul 21, 2009 07:15 PM

2004 Insignia, will it last until 2025 ?

I recently bought a 2004 Insignia with hopes of cellaring it until 2025 (the year our youngest child turns 21). We have a temp controlled cellar so the conditions will be fine. 2004 seemed to be a strong vintage and Insignia typically is a wine built for some cellaring. Is this too long ?? As much as I would like to pull the cork in 2025, I dread the prospect of doing so only to dump the bottle down the drain. Thoughts ???

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  1. Geez, that's a good question. What is the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in that vintage? I would think that a quality, Cabernet-dominated wine, stored in ideal conditions (i.e. dark, 55 F or under) would last 21 years. Mind you, the wine may be "past its peak" by then, even if still drinkable. From what I've read about most vintages of Insignia, they tend to peak at about 8-12 years post-vintage. But I could be way off-base.

    2 Replies
    1. re: anewton

      2004 is a blending of 72% Cab Sav, 14% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec. My thought is that this would be as good of a coice as any 2004 but I may be wrong ..... My curiousity may get the best of me prior to 2025 but it sure would be fun to wait.

      1. re: TonyO

        While not a fan of Parker, I do find his maturity windows to be fairly reliable, especially compared with the Wine Spec's. He says the 2004 will "age effortlessly" for two decades. FWIW, my premium Napa Cab-based wines from the late '80s -- mainly Dominus and Mondavi Reserve -- are drinking well now and still have miles to go before they sleep.

    2. No.

      Will it be horrible? No. But past its prime? Yes. I just recently picked the '01 from magnum blind at a tasting with about 30 people who re seriously into wine. We all agreed that the '01 is in prime drinking right now. So the '04 in 16 years I think is doubtful. Then again, I feel there are only a handful of CA wines being made right now that improve for 20+ years. 8-12 years from vintage date for all but the very most age-worthy seems to be the sweet spot for higher end CA Cabs these days.

      3 Replies
      1. re: whiner

        Those are my thoughts. It is a coin toss:

        A. Enjoy the wine at it's peak in 2012 or so (the sensible thing to do) or
        B. Be sentimental about a perishable item and wait until 2025.

        Maybe a "Half Way to 21" is a good way to do it in 2016 to make everyone happy. Or maybe, it's Wednesday, July 22, 2009, let's do it NOW ! If only every decision was this easy ..................

        1. re: TonyO

          Or buy a few and try all of the above.

        2. re: whiner

          I'm with Whiner here, too. Have several years of Insignia in the cellar, and drink several vintages of Insignia every year throughout the year. The way '01 and '02 are going, the '04 will be past its prime in 16 years.

        3. join cellartracker, its free, and check the tasting notes for it there. I would probably be more likely to agree with whiner on this than carswell. While I have an intense dislike of generalizations, I think that Cali cabs made in the last ten years or so are completely different wines that those of the late '80s that are mentioned.

          try buying a very good champagne and let that age til 2025...

          9 Replies
          1. re: ibstatguy

            Agreed with ibstatguy: I had plenty of the 70s and 80s cabs made in the more "traditional"/less ripe/more structured style and found that they went 20 years effortless, with tannins to spare. The day I stopped cellaring more "modern"/riper style Cali cabs was after multiple dissappointments, including a 11 year old '97 Seavey (optimally cellared). In an admittedly oversweeping generalization, they lose the voluptuous fruit that makes them appealling (to some) in the first place and then don't develop much in the way of secondary characteristics.

            My son was born in 2004; I put away a few cases of classed growth Bordeaux and a good amount of Loire whites and Barolo. Those will easily last 21 years. Insignia? It will last, but I don't think it will be drinking any better.

            1. re: chefdilettante

              Good call on the Barolo. Were I in the economic position / need for a 2004 wine that I wanted to drink in 2025, my first thought would be the Giacomo Conterno Barolo... or, when it gets released, stealing some G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino!

              1. re: whiner

                Wish I were in the position to be stocking up on Conterno barolos but feel lucky to stocked up on Elio Grasso and Ettore Germano. And no first growths, but very happy with my Leoville Barton (no question on track record for aging there) and smattering of other 2nd-5th growths. And lots of Francois Chidaine for the Loire whites, with a bit of Baumard.

                  1. re: chefdilettante

                    So with all that good wine for your son's 21st birthday, how early do you start developing his palate so he can appreciate them? Mine started me pretty young, but mainly on Spring Mountain Italy and France are things I've had to learn on my own.

                    1. re: SteveG

                      Intersesting question Steve. I grew up in a "wineless" home with the exception of an occassional bottle of Mateus (yikes). I really didn't start drinking and appreciating wine until my 30's. We always let our children (all 5 of them, ages 20 down to 5) have a taste if they wish. Their reactions are always interesting ! Hopefully they will develop their own tastes and treat us to a bottle when we visit them in the years to come !

              2. re: ibstatguy

                >>While I have an intense dislike of generalizations, I think that Cali cabs made in the last ten years or so are completely different wines that those of the late '80s that are mentioned.<<

                *nods head in vigerous agreement*

                1. re: whiner

                  One thing to note is when wineries release wine. Joseph Phelps is on its 2006 vintage for Insignia. My parents make a Spring Mountain cab that I know typically ages 2 decades, but it doesn't present well young and needs more time in the barrel, and their current release is the 2004 or 2005.

                  I think a few places like Mayacamas are on an even slower release schedule, with their 2003 being the current release. Corison's high end cab current release is 2004.

                  It's really hard to buck the vintage trend as a winery; you find yourself at tastings pouring a different vintage from everyone else, and many potential customers just think you aren't able to sell it fast enough to keep with the market and pass you by.

              3. As others have said, the wine won't be dead but it will be past its prime and even compromised. 04 was a very good but not blockbuster vintage. If anything the wines might tend to be inclined toward early/mid-term drinking. Also, in style and composition some vintages of Insignia aren't massively structured wines (as in 04 compared to 05 & 01). I'd bet that a bigger structured all-cab wine like Dunn or Montebello would do you better, and even the Backus cab by Phelps which really needs aging.
                Piedmont and Tuscany definitely enjoyed fantastic vintages so are great choices.

                I don't think Bordeaux is a slam dunk for aging 04. Again it might be a case where mid-term aging is best, and overall some of the wines aren't that good as it wasn't a good vintage. There's a lot of tannin and acid, but the wines aren't that concentrated.

                Another suggestion would be Ribera del Duero or Rioja, or the bigger of the other reds. 04 was an excellent vintage and the wines are typically built to age. Wines like Pingus, Erasmus, Remirez ganuza, Mogador, Artadi Gain or Pison, Termanthia, and V.S.Unico would all be doing fine.

                You would also probably find some of th top 04 Auslese, and even moreso the tba from someone like Kracher doing fine in 16 years.

                3 Replies
                1. re: john gonzales

                  After tasting a good fifty 2004 Napa Valley Cabs, it's become a favorite vintage. So much so that if I have a choice of vintages before me, I make a beeline for the 2004. My good group of Napa drinking buddies agree on the vintage's finesse, elegance and drinkability.

                  1. re: maria lorraine

                    Very interesting, Maria. While I've tasted very few recent vintage California Cabs, the centrepiece of a wowzer of a dinner at local BYOB Christophe -- -- featuring Renardat-Fâche's Bugey Cerdon, a 2005 Rijckaert Côtes du Jura Chardonnay (damned if I can remember the cuvée; it wasn't the En Paradis), a 1990 Baumard Coteaux du Layon and Guigal's 1989 La Landonne and La Mouline -- was a vertical of DB4 Cabernet Sauvignon from 2004, 2005 and 2006. My take parallelled yours: the 2004 was the most complete and balanced of the three. The 2005 had more immediate appeal, especially on the nose. The 2006 seemed disjointed and oaky at first, then increasingly hollow, maybe passing through a phase. But the 2004 just got better and better as the evening went on, and seemed to me the best candidate for aging.

                    As for the 2004 Insignia, I defer to the experience of the other posters. My intention was merely to point out that one high-profile data-pointer had said it could easily age two decades. (How ironic that one of the few times I've approvingly cited Arpy on this board I'm contradicted.) Having given up on premium CalCabs after the 1995 vintage, I'm not in a position to note the stylistic changes in the interim, though the changes other posters refer to are very much parallelled in Bordeaux, one of the reasons I've stopped buying wines from that area, too.

                  2. re: john gonzales

                    Although raved about by Miller, I have found '04 in Spain to go too far over the top in some cases. Even the 100 pt Erasmus I found out of balance. Now, when the '04 Lopez de Heredia wines get released, which won't be for many years, you will deffinitely be able to drink those in 2025.

                  3. The Insignia is a potentially long-lived wine. Going back some years, we had the pleasure of doing a complete vertical (plus some Backus and Arajo single-vineyard JP wines) up to that moment in time. Even with 30 years on some, they were still drinking great.

                    Though I've only had the '04 a few times, I think that it should drink fine in '25, provided that it is stored properly for that time.

                    Now, you must ask yourself one big question: do you like older Cab-based wines? That will make a ton of difference. If you want big fruit forward, then you might not appreciate this wine in later years. That is your decision.



                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Good point Hunt. Cab Franc seems to be one of the few varietals I like with some age. I think the Insignia will be just a memory by 2025. I'm sure we will keep the bottle as a reference point !