JS97 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.
WA95+ Deep purple-black in color, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia slowly grows on the nose, developing into profound scents of black currant cordial, baked plums and wild blueberries with suggestions of bouquet garni, black pepper, pencil lead and fertile loam plus a touch of beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is delicately played with beautiful definition and lots of red berry and earthy accents intertwined with the black fruits. Supported by velvety tannins and just enough freshness, it finishes long and mineral laced.
“2018 was nice for us—it was an easy vintage,” Eisele Vineyard’s winemaker Helene Mingot told me last year. “The conditions for ripening were ideal. It was a nice, cool summer. We didn’t have too much problem with vigor. Our vines are 25 years old, so our yields remained 2.5 to three tons per acre. It was a long harvest because we could harvest when we wanted. This year was the highest color we ever recorded!” During my visit this year, she added, “These 2018s were not so easy to age. It was hard to know what direction to take—the amount of racking, toast level, etc. The wines had a different structure and freshness, the polymerization dynamic was different from previous vintages.”
Estate Notes: The 2018 Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon unfolds with a nose of intense black fruit, wild blueberries and fresh black currants with a whiff of dried violets and tobacco. The mouthfeel is ample but firm with mineral notes of volcanic rock, forest humus and hints of dark chocolate. On the palate, the wine shows great depth thanks to extended maceration, with a refined texture of tight-knit tannins supporting the energetic black and blue fruits. As the wine opens, layers of floral notes, peppercorn and cardamom add to the complexity. The long finish lingers with a touch of licorice. This is a very pure and elegant Altagracia. 86% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Cabernet Franc 3% Petit Verdot Napa Valley
2,680 cases produced.