The Araujo Estate is widely considered to be one of California’s “cult” wineries with a legendary pedigree. It produces one of the greatest Cabernet Sauvignon single vineyards in Northern California, the Eisele Vineyard, which has had no end of critical acclaim. Wine Spectator call it “˜five star’, Robert Parker consistently grades it in the lofty 90’s. He also included it in his book The World’s Greatest Wine Estates: A Modern Perspective. The Eisele Vineyard, was listed as a “First Growth” in Fine Wine Magazine’s “Napa Valley Classification.”
It first became a vineyard over 120 years ago and was most recently named after Milton and Barbara Eisele, who bought the vineyard in 1969. Ridge made a legendary Cabernet from this source in 1971 and Joseph Phelps made a succession of fine wines throughout the 70’s and 80’s. However, since Bart and Daphne Araujo acquired the property in 1990, they have been responsible for producing some of the world’s greatest and most sought after Cabernet Sauvignon based wines.
Eisele Vineyard is a 38-acre single vineyard with warm cobbly soils, located on an alluvial fan just east of Calistoga, protected by the Palisades Mountains to the north and cooled by westerly breezes from the Chalk Hill Gap. The reserves of groundwater lie at great depth and encourage the vines roots to delve deep into the subsoil for moisture. The well drained soils, warm days and cool nights result in low yields of thick skinned, small, intensely flavoured berries. The Estate is certified as organic by the California Certified Farmers and biodynamic by Demeter.
The property was purchased last year by Francois Pinault – the owner of Chateau Latour and Artemis. Very sensibly, the existing team of Francoise Peschon (Head Winemaker since 1993 and now Consultant Winemaker), Nigel Kinsman (Winemaker) and Caleb Mosley (Vineyard Manager, formerly of Ridge Vineyards) has been retained.
“Araujo Estate and its jewel, the unique Eisele Vineyard, have been producing consistently one of the very best wines of Napa Valley,” Frédéric Engerer, CEO of Château Latour,
The Eisele Vineyard was called “the object of a cult like no other among California wine lovers” in The World’s Greatest Wines by Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve,
The Araujo wines are defined by their distinctive elegance and overall finesse. Robert Parker.
Here are specific details of the two new releases, the main wine and the exceptionally well-priced second wine:
Araujo Estate, Eisele Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 POA
98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc fermented, with native yeast, individually, by vineyard block, in very small tanks and run off into French oak (100% new) in which malolactic fermentation takes place. It was bottled after 22 months.
Robert Parker 92-95 The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is simply beautiful. It is easily one of the most complete and compelling wines of the vintage. Rich, flashy and open, especially within the context of the vintage, the 2011 impresses for its depth and polish. Layers of blue and black fruit, savory herbs, mint and licorice come together in this complete Cabernet. A model of total class and elegance, the 2011 is simply remarkable for the year. This is one of the few wines of the vintage with real potential not just for the near-term, but also for the future. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2026.
Araujo Estate, Altagracia, Napa Valley 2011 POA
This superb second wine – 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. It is vinified in the same way as the grand vin and is aged for 20 months in 100% new French oak barrels.
Winemaker Nigel Kinsman “the Eisele Vineyard has again shown its ability to deliver wines of distinction in atypical vintages. The minerality and quality of tannins which are Eisele hallmarks couple with fine, generous texture to give us a delicious wine of particular vitality and elegance. 2011 Altagracia bears the signature of this unique place.”
With thanks to Araujo Estate for the beautiful photographs.