My early notes stated that the wine was sumptuous, very rich and incredibly impressive, but needed to be drunk within its first decade of life. Well, in September, 2013, approaching 40 years of age, it is even better than it was 36 years ago. So much for crystal balling the potential of these wines. Of course, 1974 was an unusually warm year with a fabulous Indian Summer, and the results were very ripe, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignons that a few critics thought were over-the-top and too rich. How often we hear those same complaints, with the same phony indignation, today. When tasted in September, 2013, the 1974 Insignia exhibited a dark garnet color as well as an incredible, sweet, Pauillac-like nose of Christmas fruitcake, cedarwood, rich plum and red and black fruits, and a hint of underbrush. It possesses a noble freshness and sweetness and the fruit is holding beautifully. Never in my wildest imagination could I have believed this 1974 would perform at a nearly perfect level nearly 40 years after it was made. This profound wine makes a mockery of one of the biggest sham arguments in the wine world put forth by critics who say California wines don't age. (RP)
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