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Posts tagged ‘Araujo’

2004 Araujo Syrah Eisele Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos completed many renovation projects after they acquired the estate, and planted many varietals including Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

Garnet in color. 14.8% ABV. Rich and ripe on the nose with aromas of cassis liqueur, leather and violets. Full bodied with noticeable heat. Lots of sediment. Blueberries, olives and raspberry liqueur on the palate. Like the ’03 this is pushing the envelope on ripeness and is a little over the top for my tastes. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 88 points.

Disappointing bottle and not up to the reputation of the vineyard and the Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon. I would have a hard time paying the $150+ this wine goes for in the open market. Proceed accordingly.

Several years ago Bart and Daphne Araujo sold the winery to Francois Pinault, the owner of Chateau Latour. The winery is now known as Eisele Vineyard.

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2003 Araujo Syrah Eisele Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos have completed many renovation projects since they acquired the estate, and have planted many varietals including Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pitch red in color. 14.8% ABV. Stunning nose of raspberry liqueur, baking spice and flowers. Medium body with tremendous mouthfeel. Raspberries, minerals, earth and smoked meats on the palate. The finish is tremendous with sweet, silky tannins. In a great place right now and much better than a bottle last year. Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 92 points.

Several years ago Bart and Daphne Araujo sold the winery to Francois Pinault, the owner of Chateau Latour. The winery is now known as Eisele Vineyard.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The March Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published shortly thereafter.

2001 was simply a great vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The Summer of 2001 was somewhat cool with temperatures rarely exceeding 85 degrees. This led to wines with somewhat higher acidity that have aged absolutely gloriously. The vintage has been compared to other Napa classics like 1974 and 1991.

I want to check in on some of the more age worthy wines of the vintage as it reaches 15 years of age.

The Contenders:

2001 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep ruby-red. Vibrant aromas of cassis, black cherry, licorice and violet. Juicy, supple and sweet, with an intense cassis and tart red berry fruitiness complicated by cocoa powder, licorice, fresh herbs and tree bark. Bright acids give this highly concentrated, very pure cabernet a lovely light touch. Finishes with firm but suave tannins and excellent length. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2001 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Saturated, deep ruby-red. Quintessential cabernet aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, dark chocolate, licorice, black olive, mint and earth, sweetened by some roasted oak tones. Dense, supple and seamless; much more concentrated than the basic Napa Valley bottling but also more pliant from the outset, even if it will need a good six to eight years of cellaring. Old-style, classic Napa cabernet with a powerful, building finish. 93 points from Stephen Tanzer.

2001 Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard – Ruby-red. Warm and inviting aromas of plum, mocha, tobacco, smoke and spices. Rich, silky and suave, with mellow, claret-like flavors of currant, plum, tobacco and mocha. Pure, layered and stylish wine, finishing with substantial but lush tannins and subtle persistence. One can see the hand of consulting enologist Michel Rolland in this wine. 94 points from Stephen Tanzer.

Which 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Should I Open?

  • 2001 Dunn Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (44%, 20 Votes)
  • 2001 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard (42%, 19 Votes)
  • 2001 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (14%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 45

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, please do let me know if you have any suggestions for the April installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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Why I Renewed My Wine Spectator Subscription

I just received my first issue of the Wine Spectator in almost 8 years. I had let my subscription lapse when I last moved and was told it would take upwards of 60 days to move my subscription to a new address. This was 2007, the age of the internet, how could it possibly take so long to change my address in their database? Whatever, I did not need the Wine Spectator. I had been collecting wine for over 15 years. I knew what I liked. On top of that there were great online sites like erobertparker.com that had fresh content every day from wine collectors the world over.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2015. Many of the wines I bought 8 years ago have become so expensive that my purchases have decreased significantly or the wines are just no longer of interest. I still buy Leoville Barton and Spottswoode but certainly not in half case increments. I simply stopped buying wines like Araujo and Cos d’Estournel. I hope the Wine Spectator will enhance my own efforts to broaden my horizons on what is new and exciting in my favorite wine regions. For instance, Tim Fish who covers California Zinfandel for the Wine Spectator, was all over wineries like Bedrock and more recently Limerick Lane long before the wines were hard to get. I can’t wait to hear about his next discovery.

Secondly, the online wine board scene is old and stale. Robert Parker has put up a pay wall and new posts now only trickle in. Wineberserkers is still somewhat compelling but the tone is derisive. Posts about new wines get lost in adoration threads for board favorites like Sine Qua Non, Saxum and Rhys and bashing threads on far ranging topics including John Kapon, Maison Ilan and Premier Cru.

All roads in my wine journey do not lead to Burgundy. I want to hear about wineries like Ferren that was recently profiled by the Wine Spectator. I want to see a series of high scores for Arista in the recent Wine Spectator Pinot Noir 2013 vintage report.

So job well done to the team at the Wine Spectator. You hooked me 20 years ago and then managed to get me back when I thought I know longer needed you.

By the way, in the event anyone from the Wine Spectator reads this, it took almost 60 days from the time I sent in my subscription form to delivery of my first issue. I do hope your systems have improved.

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Pick My Next Bottle – 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

The May installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the the 2002 vintage. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened on Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

By all accounts 2002 was an exceptional vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Following on the heels of the flashy 2001 vintage, a long dry Summer with some September heat spikes, led to an earlier than normal harvest. The top wines of the vintage are aging gloriously and will cruise to fifteen years of age assuming ideal storage conditions.

The Contenders

  • 2002 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Araujo’s spectacular 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is a 1,700-case blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot from a vineyard tucked in the lower hillsides of northeastern Napa Valley, not far from the quaint town of Calistoga. Araujo has enjoyed an incredible string of top-notch vintages from 2001 through 2005 and again from 2008 through 2010. Extremely youthful at age ten, the 2002 is a candidate for perfection. Its dense blue/purple hue is followed by abundant aromas of cassis, incense, crushed rocks and spring flowers. Full-bodied and opulent as well as pure, rich and authoritative, with abundant but beautifully integrated tannins, this opulent, plush 2002 can be drunk now or cellared for another 20-25 years. 99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Dalle Valla Cabernet Sauvignon – The sensational 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc from the red soils of their vineyards planted in the Oakville Corridor on the eastern hillsides overlooking the valley floor vineyards of Screaming Eagle and Rudd Estate. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by aromas and flavors reminiscent of a 4-to-5 year-old wine rather than one that has already hit a decade of age. In fact, it probably needs another 5-10 years of cellaring and should keep for 20-25 more years. It is another example of what will one day be regarded as the ‘golden age’ of Napa Valley for the progress in quality and the world class wines that were produced. A wine of great stature and majesty, the youthful 2002 exhibits sweet licorice, creme de cassis, incense and graphite aromas, and is bursting with potential. 97 points from Wine Advocate.
  • 2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red – The nearly perfect 2002 Proprietary Red Wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest dollops of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. This exotic, full-throttle, nearly over-the-top red wine’s intensity, richness and smoky coffee notes intermixed with notions of chocolate, graphite, and jammy blackberry and black currant fruit ooze from the glass. This rich, concentrated beauty tastes more like a top-notch, young Right Bank Bordeaux from a vintage such as 2009 than a wine dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. With stunning purity and awesome potential, it can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades.
    99 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon should I open?

  • Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (49%, 19 Votes)
  • Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (31%, 12 Votes)
  • Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon (20%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 39

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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 June Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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2000 Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos have completed many renovation projects since they acquired the estate, and have planted many varietals including Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2013 Araujo was acquired by the Artemis Group which also owns Chateau Latour.

Violet in color with just a little bricking on the edge of the glass. 14.1% ABV. Black fruits, cedar and a slightly distracting vegetal note on the nose. Rich and powerful even at 14 years of age. Currants, cassis, black cherries, mint and graphite on the palate. Still somewhat tannic. The finish is slightly clipped. Not bad but not great. A product of the 2000 vintage. Drink over the next couple years.

My rating: 91 points.

I was on the Araujo mailing list for the ’94 through ’06 vintages. Great wines but now overpriced in my opinion.

Araujo is one of the most prestigious wineries in all of Napa Valley. It does not get much more iconic than Eisele Vineyard. It can be included on a short list with the likes of Martha’s Vineyard and To Kalon Vineyard.

The Araujo wines can be obtained via the mailing list, at retail and frequently at auction.

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2007 Araujo Sauvignon Blanc – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos have completed many renovation projects since they acquired the estate, and have planted many varietals including Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pale gold in color. 14% ABV. Grapefruit, kiwi and fresh cut grass on the nose. Creamy in texture and a touch of acidity. Lemon, lime and more grapefruit on the palate. This bottle was lost in the cellar and aged longer than originally intended. That being said there is a lot to like here on a hot summer night. Clearly ready to drink.

My rating: 90 points.

Araujo is one of the most prestigious wineries in all of Napa Valley. It does not get much more iconic than Eisele Vineyard. It can be included on a short list with the likes of Martha’s Vineyard and To Kalon Vineyard.

The Araujo wines can be obtained via the mailing list, at retail and frequently at auction.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2001 Araujo Syrah Eisele Vineyard – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos have completed many renovation projects since they acquired the estate, and have planted many varietals including Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

Purple in color. 14.8% ABV. Blue fruits, coffee and barbecued meats on the nose. Full bodied with healthy acidity. Rich and supple. The palate is alive with flavors of blueberry, cracked black pepper, iodine and game. The finish is long and exquisite. Hard to believe this wine is 13 years old. Bravo! Drink over the next 1-2 years.

My rating: 95 points.

Araujo is one of the most prestigious wineries in all of Napa Valley. It does not get much more iconic than Eisele Vineyard. It can be included on a short list with the likes of Martha’s Vineyard and To Kalon Vineyard.

The Araujo wines can be obtained via the mailing list, at retail and frequently at auction.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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2006 Araujo Sauvignon Blanc – Bottle Notes

Araujo Estate is a 38-acre vineyard in northeast Napa Valley, east of Calistoga. It was established in 1990 when Bart and Daphne Araujo bought the historic vineyard from Milt and Barbara Eisele, who planted the vines in the 1960s. For nearly 40 years the Eisele Vineyard has been known as one of the valley’s great vineyards, consistently producing outstanding wines. The Araujos have completed many renovation projects since they acquired the estate, and have planted such varietals as Petit Verdot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Nevertheless the estate’s signature wine is its highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon.

Gold and straw colored. 14.3% ABV. Lemon and grass on the nose. Pear, pineapple, honeysuckle and citrus on the palate. Rich and creamy. Great mouthfeel. The wine is lush and decadent. Paired beautifully with a chicken ceasar salad. Drink over the next year or so.

My rating: 91 points.

Araujo is one of the most prestigious wineries in all of Napa Valley. It does not get much more iconic than Eisele Vineyard. It can be included on a short list with the likes of Martha’s Vineyard and To Kalon Vineyard.

The Araujo wines can be obtained via the mailing list, at retail and frequently at auction. None of the wines can be considered a bargain. From memory the Sauvignon Blanc is right around $60.

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Pick My Next Bottle – Best of the Best Domestic Syrahs

The November installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on some of the very best domestic Syrah producers. As I mentioned in the July installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle on December 2nd and publishing an in-depth bottle note on December 3rd.

The producers I chose make some of the very best examples of domestic Syrah:

  • Lillian – Maggie Harrison was assistant winemaker to Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non for eight years before moving to Oregon to take over the wine making position at Antica Terra. Lillian, founded in 2004, represents Maggie’s personal project and reflects everything that she learned during her time at Sine Qua Non.
  • Araujo – Bart and Daphne Araujo acquired the iconic Eisele Vineyard in 1990. Under their watch the various Araujo wines including the Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc have grown to represent the very best of what Napa Valley has to offer for each particular varietal.
  • Cayuse – Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes, and purchased the land.

The Contenders

’05 Lillian Syrah – The Lillian 2005 Syrah exhibits a beautiful deep ruby/purple hue in addition to a sweet bouquet of flowers, black currants, forest floor, and subtle road tar. Full-bodied and gorgeously textured with terrific fruit purity, outstanding depth, and an impeccably well-balanced, savory mouthfeel with no hard edges, this beautiful Syrah can be drunk now or cellared for another 7-10 years. 92 points from the Wine Advocate.

’03 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Syrah – Although production is tiny (300 cases), Araujo’s Eisele Vineyard Syrah is an ageworthy effort that is generally co-fermented with a small amount of Viognier (around 4%), and aged in French oak (50% new). The 2003 Syrah Eisele Vineyard reveals a wonderful blackberry, chocolate, and peppery-scented nose along with good subtlety as well as authoritative richness, power, and purity. It is a stunning Syrah that should last a decade even though it will provide immediate gratification. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.

’04 Cayuse Cailloux Vineyard Syrah – Syrah is the principal raison d’etre at Cayuse Vineyards. In a typical vintage five are produced beginning with the 2004 Syrah “Cailloux Vineyard,” a cuvee co-fermented with 4% Viognier. It delivers a splendid nose of lavender, leather, meat, and blueberry jam. This is followed by a wine with great flavor already exhibiting complexity. It could use a bit more depth but that is a minor matter. 93 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Domestic Syrah should I open?

  • '05 Lillian Syrah (42%, 22 Votes)
  • '04 Cayuse Cailloux Vineyard Syrah (32%, 17 Votes)
  • '03 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Syrah (26%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to hear why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the December installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to Zinfandel Chronicles updates by email.

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