A very nice Insignia in a great drinking window with plenty of life ahead. Very concentrated blackberry, blueberry, some chocolate, black licorice, leather. Not as complex as other older Insignia, but damn good. Consistently one of my favorite wines.
Dark purple in color. Blueberry, clove, chocolate on the nose. Strong alcohol on the palate which subsided after awhile. Still seems crazy young, even after 17 years. Maple syrup on the nose and palate. Thick in consistency. Good with the wine soaked lamb chops we ate. Dark fruit flavors - raisin, plum, rum cake. Really hitting its stride three hours after opening.
Always underrated as an off-year the 1998 is showing well as it matures. A little hot to be a great wine it is still a smooth, mature fully-integrated example of how well Insignia ages. Put it up against any Bordeaux from 1991-1999 in a blind tasting and see how well it does.
Wonderful. Benefitted from a three hour sealed decant. Another half hour in the glass reveals a very noticeable overtone of uncooked smoked bacon. Done again, I think I'd leave in carafe longer and taste it along the way until I felt it was as it's peak. Thinking five hours, but not sure.
Medium/dark red. Decanted 1/2 hour before tasting at the table for a reasonable corkage. Drank over the next hour. Immediate nose of mature red berries, light cedar, lighter oak. Almost silky up front, then good balance throughout. Somewhat short finish with tannins showing but easy. Went well with a prime rib dinner. Purchased at release and cellared correctly.
Opened Christmas morning. They say your palette is sharpest in the morning before eating. If that's the case I must be sharp today as it was opened at 8:30am (kids up at 5am) and decanted and let sit an hour. Very nice nose of cassis, old wood, spice and perhaps tobacco. A very nice entrance, firm but soft mid palate but an attenuated finish that is a bit acidic. I would drink this up, it's very nice right now and I don't think it has much left in it.
Fruit and oak exploded from the glass but a bit one dimensional, took another hour or so for further development but shared by too many people and did not have a chance to experiment further. Would recommend to drink up based on first 2 hours.
Marigold, musty, peaty earth and deep cassis are the pleasant elements of a complex nose. Chinese five spice, buckwheat honey and leather luxuriate the palate. Tannins areexgremely soft, I would drink up now.
Thanksgiving dinner with friends. Decanted, four hours and it kept evolving in the glass. Still shows quite some life, powerful and well extracted with velvety tannins, long finish, nose of black fruit, chocolate and anise, more anise, plum, cocoa and olive on the palate. Feels as cab dominated as the blend suggests. Great example of Napa potential with blends as the merlot definitely rounded out the cab, makes one wish there was more meritage rather than single varietal there.
Garnet color in the glass, fairly clear looking. Nose of dried herbs, licorice and berries. Flavors of berries, raspberries and plums. Medium acidity, medium tannins, medium to full bodied. Drink now. Barely breaks the WIML90 mark in my book if it even does that.
Decanted for one hour. This wine is at a perfect place. Dark ruby red with a wonderful mouth feel. On the nose it has dark fruit and spice with amost a carmel finish. The fruit is subdued on the palate with chocolate tastes. The tannins are just where they should be and the wine has a wonderful silkiness. I wish i had more!
Decanted for 2 hours, drank with steaks. Nicely balanced, smooth drinking, round flavors - well integrated tannins. Savory flavors of cedar, cigar, leather, no big fruit and slight vegetal taste on the palette (think raw broccoli stem).
CellarTracker Wisconsin June 2011; 6/24/2011-6/25/2011 (Madison, WI- various venues): Tasted non blind at a tasting that included 94-99 Insignia. Not a lot going on on the nose. Didn't take detailed notes (I spent my time by this point going back to the 94, 95, 97 and Quilceda Creek 94). I couldn't easily figure this one out but did note to hold for a few more years to see what happens but I'm not expecting this to be one of the great Insignias. No rating for now.
Tasted non blind at an offline. Double decanted and left cork out for four hours before serving.
Garnet to perhaps dark garnet color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose is a bit greenish up front with added aromas of balsamic, plums and a little red berries. Decent flavors of red berries, a bit of red raspberries and some red plums. Medium acidity, medium tannins, medium to full bodied. Drink now.
CT Wisconsin Offline (Madison, WI): One of the better '98 Napa cabs I've had so far. Dark fruit, earth and backed up by some nice spiciness on the nose. Powerful mouth feel, plenty of silky tannins and a nice chocolate/mocha along with dark fruit on the palate. Long finish.
From the Friday Night Cellar Circuit: 89-90 points. Bear in mind this wine was sandwiched between an 01 Cos d'Estournel and an 02 Insignia. Decanted briefly, more for removing sediment than anything else. The cork was bad, but it did not seem to hurt the wine terribly. Nose had definitely moved on to secondary notes of tobacco, with some fruit in the background. The palate was friendly and lively, particularly following that 01 Cos, the fruit was still there, although clearly this wine had moved past its peak. Still, a great bottle; would not buy another one at the price, but it was fun to try it.
Not decanted. A few impatient people tasted it soon after opening and expressed disappointment, so I hid the bottle and didn't go near it for about three hours. I'd tasted it and been disappointed three or four years ago, but this one turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Nice clear color with no brick. Fairly strong nose - cabernet and spices and no mustiness. Very good balance Cassis and cigar box. Nice texture with fine tannins and a decent finish. Quite an accomplishment from a poor vintage.
Decanted for one hour. This wine is at a perfect place. Dark ruby red with a wonderful mouth feel. On the nose it has dark fruit and spice with lots of terroir - earth and smoke and saddle leather notes. The frruit is subdued on the palate with complex chocolate and spice and earth tastes. The tannins are just where they should be and the wine has a wonderful silkiness. Incredibly complex with a three minute finish. I have three more to go!
I just love this wine, can't deny it- every time I have it, just gets better. Too bad I don't have any left from this vintage. Ruby red with brick rim- impressive color for 12 years old. Deep hued stained tears. Violets, plum, blueberry, huckleberry and cassis on the nose. Moderate intensity of nose with secondary aromas starting to surface: cigar and licorice. In the mouth, it is still young and fresh- black and red fruits dominate with tobacco, chocolate and leather starting to come up. In a real sense, the typical New World fruitiness has started to fade and the secondary flavors have balanced- should compare with well made Bordeaux a few years younger. The finish is smooth and silky- stays in the mouth quite a while. High quality Bordeaux will take much longer to develop to this point.
Deep dark red. Needed an hour of open time and certainly improved over the evening. Lots going on with aromas of cassis, spice, earth, and chocolate as the night went on. Nice balance in the mouth. A real winner for 1998, but we need to get into the rest of these. Fully mature, IMO.
Popped and poured 2 glasses 90 min. before grilled NY strips at home. Initially very tight and even tannic, but powerful nose of black fruit and some earthiness. After that we let them sit until dinner. By then the wine had opened considerably showing more fruit and drinking beautifully with the steaks. Tannins just present enough to cut through the marbleing for satisfying long, long finish coating the mouth and tongue. Amazing wine that I think has at least a few years left. Still beautifully balanced and structured with no sign of slippage.
Big, beautiful wine. Tasted at a dinner party, pop and pour. Silky, sweet tannins, with very long finish drinking perfectly right now. Dark cherry, cassis, and even some black licorice and earthy notes. Really blossomed with some airtime, definitely WOTN.
Deep purple color, nose of crushed berries, deep lush flavors of cassis, complex long finish. We had two bottles from different cellars. One bottle had a whole side of sediment, the other almost none. Flavors were consistent though. Also had the 2001 from a magnum. Good wine, but sweeter and less complex.
Decanted this for an hour, but not sure it needed that much time. Dark red color with red fruits and floral scents in the nose. Definitely had more fruit flavor at some point but there was still plenty of cherry and plum flavors. Nicely crafted wine for an off year. Well integrated with a smooth, silky finish.
Expected this to be a lesser vintage but it was huge. Actually could use more aging. Great nose with spice and blackberry Inky mouthfeel but still with tons of fruit and a finish that goes forever. Tasted the auction reserve at Insignia day 2009.
Beautiful aromas of dark cherry fruit, perfectly balanced with sweet tannins, still lots of life here. Full bodied dark ruby color, long finish. A great Cab/Merlot blend, wish I had more, drank three bottles over a three year span. An excellent effort for the vintage. Drank last one with sirloins, shared with MG.
Gets better and better. Big, fruit, excellent wine that may be at its peak. Drank beside 01,02 03 Ch. Montelena Estate wines. All excellent wines. Fabulous evening of wine drinking. The Insignia was perhaps the best of the group, but considering the added age and blend difference (100% cabernet vs bordeaux blend) it's apples to oranges. Finished the evening with Envy which opened up beautifully and held it's own.
Dark red; aroma's of blackberries, bing cherries, vanilla and hawthorne;nicely balanced fruit and tannin, neither very concentrated, smooth mouth feel;med fin.; a good bottle for the vintage, ready to enjoy, not likely to get more complex
After an initial taste, I decided against decanting but left the bottle open for an hour. Youthful appearance, pencil box nose, flavor of ripe dark plum. As the evening progressed, the fruit did start to fade, taking a backseat to earthy flavors, tobacco, soy with a slightly thin, bitter finish. However, this problem which bothered me while drinking the wine unaccompanied and during cheese apps, disappeared when the ribeye main hit the plate. Lovely wine and a testament to the quality of Insignia even in a challenging vintage. From magnum. Drink now.
very nice, despite a bit of vegetal stuff/weediness on the nose, but gets better with air, medium body, good fruit, not a big and ripe as most years but well balanced, medium finish, very good to excellent
Wow - what an experience, especially given the context of the vintage. Got better as the evening wore on, with satiny, mouthcoating textures, still plenty of tannin, but loads of cassis and, on the finish, ripe plum fruit that went on and on. Even my wife, who a) isn't a huge Cabernet fan and b) likes her wines young thought this was outstanding!
Deep color, dark fruits, like cassis or cherries. Decanted 30 minutes. Paired with rack of Lamb at Boulevard with the Maxwells. Quite nice. Thought I would be disappointed after reading other reviews, so I was pleasantly surprised, but it doesn't measure up to other vintages of Insignia.
Opened at Otis' CDP. This was the 8th different vintage of the Insignia that I can recall drinking and except for a flawed bottle, this scored the lowest for me. Of course 1998 was not the best year in Napa. This wine was a little too fruity with enough structure. Notes of crushed grape skins and red currant. Dry tannins. Still very enjoyable but just not in the outstanding category. 89 points.
This was very interesting. We ended up drinking two bottles of this. The first bottle upon opening was only a slight perfume on the nose and upon tasting a faint hint of bottle cork was present. After much debate we opted to decant the rest of this bottle and opened a second one. This latter bottle upon opening gave off a very strong bouquet of herbs such as rosemary. No cork taint however so we drank away. Later we put the two up side by side and all of us commented upon the distinctive noses from each bottle. After about an hour the first bottle was consumed minus any hint of cork taint. Go figure...
Very good out of the bottle. Lots of fruit, not much structure. Gets real dumb fairly quick. Very good for an "off" year. Consume in the next few years. I think I will use mine to take to non-wine friends houses for parties where they wouldn't really know a good bottle, but they have heard of the name!
a bit light at rim, bit of vegetal stuff/weediness on the nose, but gets better with air, medium body, good fruit, not a big and ripe as most years but well balanced, medium finish, very good to excellent
Excellent. Opened and drank with a 2001 Columbia Crest Reserve (both 93 pts from WS). The Columbia crest reserve was slightly better, but for a relatively tough year, this wine was opulent, and caressing, with silky tannins, red and dark berrys, sweet butterscotch mocha, creme broulet, vanilla oak, and white pepper. Beautiful, and improved as it sat in the glass.
Cab Lovers of NYC Insignia Vertical (Zoe): The poor '98. Sandwiched between the '97 and '99 it really looked like a loser. Still, for a '98, it was pretty good. Cherries on the nose and that's really the lasting impression here. Someone said cough syrup but I don't think it was that bad, but it was a little sweet on the entry. Maybe I've got Zin on the brain, but I thought it tasted like a old, Claret-like Zinfandel with a little bramble fruit and spiciness (which precipitated odd looks from those around me). To complete the trifecta here, it was also a bit astringent on the finish. I think there was general consensus that this was the worst wine on the night.
Decanted 1 hour. Dark garnet color, almost opaque with fading at the edges. When the cork was first popped the nose was pretty funky but that blew off within the first 15 mins in the decanter to reveal a complex nose of dark fruits and maybe a little bacon. Flavors of dark cherries and a little plum framed by the little remaining tannins. Not a super long finish but a good effort from the cool 98 summer.
Superbowl afternoon cabernet tasting (Home in Boston): Smelled great, fruit and oak. Deep garnet color. Full-bodied, flavors of sweet cassis, cherries, with some chocolate and wood. Long, flavorful finish. Insignia has never disappointed, even though the 98 is not as rich and concentrated as other vintages.
Deep garnet red with slight browning at the rim. This started out very strong, but hollowed out after the bottle was open for a few hours. Caramel, mocha, cassis, and sweet raspberry/plum fruit. The tannins are fairly well integrated but still a little grippy on the finish.
Very nice wine. Rounded edges but substantial structure underneath. Tones of raspberry, vanilla, cassis, some earthiness underlying it all. Not the full throttle of some other vintages, but a very nice wine nonetheless.
Splash decanted and consumed over 2h Dk ruby Soft sweet oak, med cassis, soft spice, dk cherries(nose somewhat muted at first and opened up after about 30 min) Sharp attack of course tannins, dk cherries, cassis, soft cedar notes, tart/med acidity, med body(tannins seemed to overpower the fruit), smooth finish(30-35 sec) with residual tannins(89pt) Overall not very balanced. Maybe effects of drinking at Snowbird elevation but bottom like, this does not compare to prior or subsequent years of Insignia. My take 89pt
Jammy and ripe with plums, dark cherries, and a hint of vanilla on the palate. Strong, but not overwhelming, presence of cedar on the finish. Still some tannins, but very drinkable now and over the next few years.
Deep, rich garnet color. Opulent nose, with cassis, blackberry, and a touch of bacon fat. A bit hollow mid-palate, followed by a longish finish with some toated oak notes and a wall of tannins. Better with air. Fat and opulent, gushing fruit, full midpalate. Long finish. Opened on the occasion of Eva finding a new job.