You can tell from the scores that Altagracia, composed from the legendary Eisele Vineyard, is trying to give the “Grands Vin” of the house a run for its money (at less than half the price). Little sister’s making good with “incredible intensity and purity of fruit with gorgeous breadth and depth,” according to James Suckling, who calls it a “Superb, new-wave Napa red.”
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!
Intense aromas of black fruit, cocoa powder, black olives, dried violets, tar and cigar box. Some black peppercorn, too. It’s full-bodied with firm, chalky tannins. Incredible intensity and purity of fruit with gorgeous breadth and depth. Superb, new-wave Napa red. 80% cabernet sauvignon, the rest mostly cabernet franc with a hit of petit verdot. Try from 2025.