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2015 Eisele Vineyards "Altagracia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1356314 95 points James Suckling

 This is a dense and juicy red with characters of blackberries, chocolate and pine needles. Sweet tobacco, too. Full body and round, polished tannins. A more dialed-in, terroir character than in past vintages. 88% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot.  (5/2018)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia has slightly muted black cherries, crushed black plums and cassis with hints of licorice, black soil and cracked pepper plus a waft of tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, rich and expressive in the mouth, it delivers a lot of layers and wonderfully fine tannins, finishing long and earthy. (LPB)  (10/2017)

Jancis Robinson

 Deep healthy crimson. Quite subtle and hidden on the nose. Then very broad and almost brûlée on the palate with markedly more tannin than most Napa Valley Cabernets. Lots of interest here. Undergrowth rather than pure fruit. Only medium weight. I’d LOVE to taste this alongside Ch Latour! Very clean finish. But sweeter than a Bordeaux. 17.5+/20  (3/2018)

K&L Notes

Robert Parker: "This is one of the greatest terroirs in all of Napa Valley, if not all of California...world-class wines of first-growth quality. It is no coincidence that the Eisele Vineyard is now owned by a first-growth proprietor from France, François Pinault, of Château Latour." Winemaker's Notes: "The evolution of Altagracia is a remarkable example of the direction the estate has taken since 2013. Between 1991 and 1998 the vineyard was replanted. This blend was conceived in 1999 from the estate's youngest vines. In later years, it was sometimes combined with fruit received from outside ranches. Almost two decades after the initial bottling, Altagracia has been redefined completely. Two undeniable forces have allowed us to lay these new foundations: the increased severity of our selection for the Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, and the realization that each of two distinct places within this great terroir should be allowed to give their purest and best expression. Thus, in 2015 the Altagracia blend is increasingly defined by the geography of the estate, coming almost entirely (90+%) from parcels at the base of the Eisele Vineyard's eastern hillsides. This is a beautiful Altagracia, more representative of the Eisele Vineyard terroir than ever, hence the inclusion of its name on a refreshed label."


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Price: $139.95

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Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/4/2018 | Send Email
Having tasted many Altagracia bottlings over the years the 2015 is clearly a more refined, site specific expression of this legendary terroir. On a recent visit to the vineyard, General manager Antoine Donnedieu explained how Altagracia now consists of more than 90% estate fruit from four contiguous blocks of the Eisele Vineyard (Tecolote, Piedras, Jardin and Rincon). The fruit is farmed and vinified in the exact same way as the estate's premier bottling. The soils and exposure of these blocks simply lend themselves to a more forward, accessible style of Cabernet and have a different tannin structure than those blocks whose soils are more influenced by the alluvial deposits of Simmons Creek. The wine is simply stunning in its elegance and purity. Whilst the folks at Eisele consider this to be their softer, more open knit bottling; after tasting extensively around the valley on this trip, I found the 2015 Altagracia to be one of the more precise, linear, fine grained expressions of Napa Cabernet I tasted. The intricate character of this storied vineyard is on full show, and the Bordelais sensitivities of its new owners have brought more restraint and refinement to the expression. This is very classy, polished, pure Cabernet that is sure to age beautifully whilst being accessible when young. I tasted it along side 2013, 2014 and 2015 premier Eisele Cabernet bottlings and it showed very well in tough company!
Drink from 2018 to 2030

Staff Image By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/11/2018 | Send Email
Eisele is one of Napa's most intriguing properties, with an illustrious history and a truly unique take on one of the region's most cherished vineyards. Recently purchased by the team at Latour, they have come to adore the land from which they craft two Cab-based reds. Altagracia is mostly produced from three specific vineyard blocks that lend towards a brighter, more approachable style. The wine is full of bright red fruit and is extremely elegant. It is a wine of restraint that many talk about but few can produce. It is not lacking for that, but just unique. With sweet red currant, light milk chocolate notes, mouthwatering acidity, and soft fine-grain tannins, Altagracia will be intriguing to follow over the years to see the heights that this team can reach. Surely a different style in a land where extraction and volume are usually the norm. Decant now, or hold for another five years to see what it really has in store.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.8