Eisele Vineyards Araujo Estate Wines, Napa Valley, California Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Saugivnon Blanc wine producer profile with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines
Arauju, Eisele, History, Overview
The Eisele vineyard, the heart and soul of Araujo Estate wines has a long history in the Napa Valley. Located in the eastern part of the Calistoga appellation, long before it earned its current name, the vineyard was first planted all the way back in 1886. At the time, like many growers in those days, the vineyard was planted to Zinfandel and Riesling. In 1964, the 38 acre vineyard was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon.
The modern era for the Eisele vineyard began in 1969 when it was purchased by Milt Eisele and Barbara Eisele. Prior to their purchase and renaming by the Eisele family, the grapes were often sold to large producers and blended into generic Napa wines. After renaming the vineyard, the Eisele family did not have the desire to be winemakers. Their goal was to manage the vineyard and sell the grapes to wine makers. For the first few years, the fruit was sold to Robert Mondavi.
Because Robert Mondavi refused to add the Eisele name to their wines, the family offered the grapes to other growers in the 1970’s. Ridge Vineyards made the first and most difficult Eisele vineyard designated wine to find from the 1971 harvest. With the help of a young Paul Draper from Ridge Vineyards, the 1971 Ridge Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon became one of the first vineyard designated wines in California. Conn Creek also produced great wine from the Eisele vineyards as well. For several years, Joseph Phelps used the Eisele vineyard for much of their famed Phelps Insignia blend.
Within a short period of time, consumers, wine makers and critics quickly discovered the stunning quality of wines being produced from fruit grown in the Eisele vineyards. Things changed in 1990, when the Eisele family sold the vineyard to Bart and Daphne Araujo.
The Araujo familiy bought the now famous Eisele vineyards in 1990. Over the years, the Araujo family has increased their holdings in the Napa valley. In total, they own 137 acres of vineyards. The following year after their initial purchase, Araujo Estate was formed and they produced their debut vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon based wine from a blend similar to what you would find in the Left Bank of Bordeaux with the 1991 harvest. They were lucky because their first vintage turned out to be a great year for California wine. At Araujo Estate, they are firm believers in natural farming. The estate practices biodynamic farming techniques, designed to obtain the best expression from their unique terroir by using sustainable farming techniques.
Eisele Vineyards, Grapes, Soils, Wines, Winemaking
The 38 acre Eisele Vineyard, with its alluvial, rock and stone soils, gentle slopes, with access to water from 2 streams can be divided into 14 separate parcels. The south facing vines in the Eisele vineyard has a unique micro climate due to its position in between the Palisades Mountains that protects it from the northern cold air on one side and the cooler air from the Russian River Valley that blows through the Chalk Hill Gap on the other side of the vineyard.
The blend for their Eisele Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon depends on the character of the vintage and can range from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon to 92% Cabernet Sauvignon. The remainder is made from Cabernet Franc, a small amount of Petit Verdot and a bit of Merlot.
Next, Altagracia, a second, Cabernet Sauvignon based wine from estate and purchased fruit was created in 1999.
Araujo Estate, now also known as Eisele vineyards also lays claim to producing one of the top expressions of Syrah in Napa. Produced from grapes grown in the Eisele vineyard, the wine is co-fermented with up to 5% Viognier. The Araujo Syrah is vinified in open top, oak fermenters. Sauvignon Blanc is also made at the estate and can blended with a little bit of Viognier, giving the wine more sweetness, fatter textures and additional floral elements. In select vintages, the property releases a special Viognier bottling as well.
In a few vintages, Araujo has produced a few experimental Cabernet Sauvignon based wines from some of their oldest vines. The wines were made from a single barrel and are labeled Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Vieille Vignes. The majority of Araujo Estate wines are sold via their private mailing list.
July, 2013, Araujo Estate wines and the Eisele vineyard was sold to the owners of Chateau Latour, the well-known, First Growth Bordeaux wine. The first vintage for the new owners is the 2013. While the price of the sale was not disclosed, rumors have placed the price at close to 125 Million dollars for the entire holdings of the Araujo vineyards in Napa Valley.
The first vintage entirely produced under the watchful eye of Frederic Engerer and his new winemaker, Helene Mingot was the 2013, which along with the 2012, are two of the best wines ever produced at Araujo. One of the first changes to take place at the estate was to enforce a much more stringent selection. Today, at least 20% less wine is going into the Eisele vineyard. This means more of that fruit is now being placed into Altagracia. In 2016, the name of the winery was changed to reflect its place of origin. Starting with the 2013 vintage, the Araujo name was dropped and the wines are being sold as Eisele Vineyards. Winery Name Changed to Eisele Vineyard
Serving and Decanting Eisele, Araujo Wines with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
The red wine of Eisele Vineyards, Arauju is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 1-3 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Eisele Vineyards, Arauju is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, barbecue, roasted, braised, grilled dishes and stews. Eisele Vineyards, Arauju is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.
Sauvignon Blanc, the white wine of Eisele Vineyards is best served with all types of seafood and shellfish, sushi, sashimi, chicken, veal, pork and cheese.
Araujo Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which is now called Eisele Vineyards is a stylish, rich, elegant, deep, pure, fresh, concentrated expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that is never over the top, or out of balance. The wines are unique and allow for youthful pleasure as well as age-ability.