Château Latour and the Araujo Estate Winery

When the French billionaire François Pinault’s investment company announced this past August that it had purchased Araujo, an estate that produces one of the Napa Valley’s most prized cabernet sauvignons, a sense of exhilaration swept through the California wine world. Not only had Araujo been included in a highly curated portfolio alongside Château Latour in Pauillac,Château Grillet in the northern Rhone and Domaine d’Eugenie in Vosne-Romanée, Burgundy, it marked the first time the owner of a First Growth Bordeaux had invested (without an American partner) in a Napa winery. The purchase was seen as yet another affirmation that the region’s finest wines now compete in the same league as the most exalted wines on the planet. 

The announcement went a step further, making it clear that the group had not just bought a well-known luxury brand but also a coveted terroir. The CEO of Château Latour is quoted calling Araujo’s thirty-eight acre Eisele Vineyard (pronounced ICE-lee) “unique” and the estate’s “jewel.” 

The Eisele Vineyard has been producing legendary vineyard-designate cabernet sauvignon since 1971, mostly for Joseph Phelps Vineyards until Bart and Daphne Araujo purchased the property in 1990. The Araujo’s immediately understood the specialness of the site and introduced organic and biodynamic vineyard practices to let it speak to its full potential through their wines. If you look at the Araujo wine labels, the designation Eisele Vineyard is always larger than their name on the bottle. 

While Napa does not officially assign vineyards a classification such as First Growth or Grand Cru status, with the purchase of the Araujo Estate Winery by Château Latour,  Eisele can lay claim to being its first star vineyard.