Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The April Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2004 vintage. The purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. 2004 was an average vintage in Napa Valley but all the wines I have chosen below have an exceptional track record for aging well. As these wines turn 20 years old I can’t think of a better time to check in on them. The winning bottle will be opened this Sunday and a Bottle Note published early next week.

The Contenders

  • 2004 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon – No Maya was made in 2004, but the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Dalla Valle Vineyards possesses a beautiful bouquet of scorched earth, cedar, black currants, and licorice. It is full-bodied with sweet tannin, a voluminous, savory mouthfeel, significant complexity, generous depth and richness, and easy accessibility because of the sweetness of the tannin. This is a beauty from one of the most impressive terroirs on the eastern hillside slopes of the Oakville Corridor. (12/07). 93 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon – A classic, old style Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Montelena’s 2004 reveals beautiful purity along with lots of creme de cassis fruit, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a long finish. By Montelena standards, it is a bit more powerful than usual (14.1% alcohol). These wines have an uncanny ability to age for 2-3 decades, and while the 2004 is slightly more forward and evolved than other vintages have been (2001 and 2002), it should last for 20-25 years. (04/14). 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2004 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – I don’t know whether it’s me, the vintage character, or whether Randy Dunn and his son have intentionally softened their wines, but these 2004s are more opulent and up-front than previous renditions. Yet, they lack neither concentration nor richness. Those of us who have been cellaring Dunn’s wines for twenty years, waiting for them to reach maturity should be thrilled by this new development. The Howell Mountain is denser and richer with blacker fruits as well as more body. Both are full-bodied, powerful Cabernets very much in keeping with his style. However, the tannins are softer and the wines reveal surprisingly developed aromatics. Look for the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa to drink well for 15 years. It is a brilliant achievement. (12/07). 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2004 Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (44%, 7 Votes)
  • 2004 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (38%, 6 Votes)
  • 2004 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon (19%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.

Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the May Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

  1. Tom: Would prefer either Dunn or Dalla Valle for purely selfish reasons. My 2004 Napa Cabs are long gone (with Beringer’s 2004 Private Reserve being the last one I opened in 2014). But I do have Dunn bottles (2012 being the oldest) and Dalla Valle (2021 being first time it was available to me) in my future. Also, based on your poll, may I assume you prefer your Napa Cabs at the 20 year mark instead of, say, the 10 year mark?

    1. It is a fair question. I can’t remember opening many Napa Cabs at any point in my wine drinking journey and thinking the wine was past its prime. I do prefer wines like Montelena and Dunn which clearly age well. I suppose if I had to put a timeframe on Napa Cabs in general I would say I prefer about 15 years of age (setting aside the aforementioned Montelena and Dunn).

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