As I reported last year, the 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is a spectacular wine from a vintage that has consistently received unfavorable press (particularly from the Wine Spectator). It seems to me that if the 1993 vintage were taken out of the context of the historical succession of outstanding years in the nineties, and put in the eighties, qualitatively, 1993 would tower over the likes of 1987, 1985, or 1984. The Eisele Vineyard 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the half dozen or so candidates for wine of the vintage. I have tasted it three times out of bottle, once rating it as high as 98, but never less than 96. It is a mind-boggling Cabernet Sauvignon that is remarkably well-balanced for its size and intensity. The color is an opaque purple, and the nose offers up smoky, chocolatey, blackcurrant, licorice, and mineral scents. On the palate, the wine reveals fabulous density, concentration, sweetness of fruit as well as tannin, and a 30-40 second finish. Although there is a high percentage of new oak, this wine has completely soaked it up, a testament to its extract and concentration of fruit. While the wine displays a certain precociousness, unusual for a 1993, there is plenty of tannin lurking in the finish, but it is well-concealed by the wine's exceptional richness. This beauty is destined to age effortlessly for 20-25 years.
The Eisele Vineyard has always produced concentrated Cabernet Sauvignons with blackcurrant/cassis personalities intermixed with a mineral component. What the Araujos have been able to achieve is to intensify the fruit character, as well as the wine's purity and definition. That, plus high quality French oak barrels and a natural approach to winemaking has resulted in a succession of extraordinary Cabernets that began in 1991, and shows no signs of abating.