Aiming for perfection every step along the winemaking way, Eisele Vineyard lets the land have the first and final say. Terroir takes the wheel and respect for the fruit charts the course with every vintage, but this may be the most “terroir-transparent” ever. Fresh, floral and velvety, this is an Eisele for the ages.
First planted in 1880, Araujo’s Eisele Vineyard in Calistoga is steeped in mythology. The vineyard is a good example of the transcendent power of a great terroir, because no matter who makes the wines, they always provide an extraordinary drinking experience. Even before Bart and Daphne Araujo purchased this gravelly, cobblestone-laden vineyard in 1989, legendary wines like the 1971 Ridge Eisele, 1974 Conn Creek Eisele, and 1975 Joseph Phelps Eisele Cabernets galvanized its position as one of the greatest sites in not just the valley, but all of California. Today winemaking and blending is overseen by Frédéric Engerer, who is also CEO of Château Latour. There is something magical about the Eisele vineyard. There’s no other way to say it. Effortless power, intense, gravelly goût de terroir, and haunting cassis perfume make this one of the great wines of the United States. The Estate Cabernet wine is made from THE prime cut of Eisele Vineyard, one of the most purely alluvial vineyards in the entire Napa Valley, whose gravels and stones were washed down via Simmons Creek over millennia. It’s this alluvial character, which Cabernet Sauvignon roots crave, that lends credence to the argument that Eisele Vineyard is simply the finest site in the entire Napa Valley. Being a Cabernet Sauvignon collector without Eisele in your cellar is like being a rock and roll fan without a single Beatles, Who, or Stones album in your possession. This American Grand Cru is required drinking if you crave the best in life!
The very deep, purple-black colored 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It takes a fair amount of swirling to unlock an incredibly intense nose of dark chocolate, warm cassis, baked plums and Morello cherries plus touches of red roses, violets, pencil shavings, cinnamon stick and dusty soil with a hint of iron ore. The full-bodied palate is so exquisitely elegant, charged with electric black and red fruits and a firm frame of super-ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing very long and very perfumed. This is pure energy in a glass!
A benchmark for the vintage, thanks to its gorgeous display of warm cassis, mulled plum and macerated blackberry fruit stitched with subtle loam, juniper and bay leaf accents, in a reserved style. Warm earth tones reverberate through the lengthy finish, dovetailing perfectly with the suave fruit. A real beauty. Best from 2023 through 2040.