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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Araujo Eisele Vineyard Syrah (slightly torn label) 2004

Syrah/Shiraz from Napa Valley, California
  • RP92
14.9% ABV
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14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This intense, inky-hued wine displays flamboyant aromas of crushed blackberries, dark chocolate, sandalwood and exotic floral notes of honeysuckle and orange blossom. In the mouth, it is deep, dark and densely brooding, as flavors of plum, mocha and licorice fill the palate, finishing with persistent mineral notes marked by remarkable sweetness and fine tannins. Winemaker Francoise Peschon notes: This luscious wine has layers and layers of flavor of black fruit and spices, with an underlying structure of supple tannins and gravelly finesse. It combines the heady wildness of the Syrah grape with the elegant terroir of the Eisele Vineyard in a compelling, sensuous and complete wine.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Previously recommended, but no tasting note given.
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Araujo

Araujo

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Araujo, Napa Valley, California
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Since 1971, some of California's most ageworthy and intensely-flavored Cabernet Sauvignons have been made from grapes grown at the Eisele Vineyard, located on a benchland near the northern end of Napa Valley, just east of Calistoga. Protected by the Palisades Mountains to the north and cooled by westerly breezes from the Chalk Hill Gap, this 38-acre vineyard is planted on warm cobbly soils that produce a low-yielding crop of exceptionally concentrated fruit. Bart and Daphne Araujo acquired the Eisele Vineyard in 1990, and committed to producing only wines of the highest caliber and distinction. Araujo Estate produces 4 wines each vintage: Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard, Altagracia, Syrah Eisele Vineyard and Sauvignon Blanc Eisele Vineyard.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960's, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those is the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

LSB200321_2004 Item# 200321