A full 18 years later, at the Grand Del Mar Araujo luncheon in October, it turned out I was the only one who had experienced this great wine in its pre-release youth. The clarity with which the mature bottle reconnected me to that first taste in August of 1997 was amazing. I recall an intense array of violets and purple floral notes, and satisfaction at how decades had tempered it’s masculinity with grace and elegance. The anise aromas and tarragon flavors of its youth melded with delicate aromas of a cedar cigar box, perhaps once home to rum-soaked Cuban Cigars, but now containing old-fashioned licorice pipes! The fresh blackberry fruit had mellowed, and nuanced savory-bramble mingled with black cherry. The great minerality was supported by a pleasing aromatic tinges that come with the first spatters of a summer rain. The long finish garnered the very sight of the rocky Palisades Mountains jutting high above the Eisele Vineyard.
I will never forget that day in August 1997, nor that tasting of October 2014! The Eisele Vineyard definitely delivers…
I will never forget my first tasting of the ’94 Eisele Cabernet. It was in August of 1997, and the purity and elegance of the Araujo Eisele instantly reminded me of one of my all-time favorites – the Ridge 1981 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon. I suddenly realized it was that rare, personal moments when one comprehends all implied by the single word; “complete”. The condensed, concentrated core of fresh black fruit and subtle layers of anise couldn’t subdue the striking minerality. It was as if liquid velvet flowed endlessly across my palate, one moment revealing vivid notes of red, then blue fruits, all supported by brightness, structure, and warmth of oak that promised decades of nuance yet to be revealed.
Photograph by Burges Smith
1994 Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon