WSI97 RP97 The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a relatively powerful statement from the new owners. Dense ruby/purple in color, with an exceptional nose of crème de cassis, a touch of mulberry and spice. The oak is completely obscured by the lavish, concentrated, ripe fruit and multi-dimensional mid-palate that expands beautifully, but with no sense of heaviness. The wine is rich and full-bodied, but with velvety tannin and stunning purple and black fruits. This is a beauty, with savoriness that’s hard to articulate. The finish goes on for a good 45+ seconds. This is a beauty that’s velvety, opulent and capable of drinking well now or in 25 to 30+ years.
In 2013, this historic estate was sold by the Araujos to the Groupe Artemis and François Pinault, the French entrepreneur/billionaire who is best known in the wine world as the proprietor of Bordeaux’s Château Latour as well as several other French estates, most notably the tiny diamond with its own appellation, Château Grillet near Condrieu. Pinault also owns Domaine René Engel in Burgundy. This is my first look at the wines under the new ownership. I was among the first to review these wines when the vineyard was owned by the Eisele family, who sold grapes to Ridge in 1971 for the first single vineyard offering from this site, and subsequently to Conn Creek in 1974 and Joseph Phelps for nearly a decade. The 38-acre vineyard protected by the Palisades Mountains sits in the northeast quadrant of Napa Valley. It was planted on low-yielding, gravelly, cobbly soils in the 1880s to both Riesling and Zinfandel. The first Cabernet Sauvignon was planted in 1964 with the Olmo Clone (believed to have originated at the nearby Larkmead Vineyard on the valley floor). Araujo has turned out some fabulous wines in 2012 and 2013, all incredibly young and primary, but bursting with potential.