News & Press
Why Napa Valley Is for White-Wine Lovers, Too
And we're not just talking buttery Chardonnay.
Robb Report, January 2024
If we were to play game of word association and we called out “Napa” we’re willing to bet that the majority of respondents, without hesitation, would reply “Cabernet Sauvignon.” If there were a chef or two in the mix, we might hear “cabbage” as well, but knowing our readers we’re aware that Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon remains top of mind. Exploring a little further, we’re sure that we could elicit at least a small amount of acknowledgment that the United States’ most famous wine region also produces Chardonnay. However, beyond that we think we would be hard pressed to find a large cohort of wine drinkers who are aware that Napa Valley’s grows and produces a wide range of white wine.
The Araujo legacy: Wheeler Farms and Accendo Cellars, plus 10 wines tasted
Decanter, October 2023
After the sale of Calistoga-based Araujo Estate (now Eisele Vineyard) to France's Pinault Family, Bart and Daphne Araujo established Accendo Cellars. Simultaneously, they organized a collective and introduced Wheeler Farms in St. Helena, a modern hospitality and custom-crush facility for Napa's top fine wines. Now, they are passing the torch to the second generation.
Bart and Daphne Araujo step back from Accendo Cellars
Decanter, October 2023
On the eve of their 10th year producing world-class Napa Cabernet at Accendo Cellars, Bart and Daphne Araujo have announced they are stepping away from Accendo and passing the torch to second-generation partners Jaime and Greg Araujo
9 Stellar White Wines To Drink This Fall
From Napa Chardonnay to Tuscan whites, the bottles you'll want to reach for as the weather changes.
Robb Report, September 2023
Yes, the weather has started to get a little cooler but doesn’t mean we have to give up our favorite summertime whites. Sure, white wines are usually thought of as warmer weather pleasures, but they also form a nice bridge as the summer turns to fall. They offer an excellent contrast to some of the heavier meals we begin cooking as we move from the grill to indoor preparations, with crisp, clean acidity...
Spectator Selections - Highly Recommended
Wine Spectator, August 2023
The issue's most impressive wines. Includes top-scorers and wines that represent optimal purchases based on their combination of score, price and availability.
Napa Valley's Super Sauvignons Soar Even Higher
WineSpeed, August 2023
Is there anyone left who doubts that—in sheer quality—Napa Valley’s top whites are Sauvignon Blancs?
Maybe it sounds a little severe to say, but over the past five years, while Napa’s Chardonnays have largely stood in place, the valley’s Sauvignon Blancs have soared. These aren’t just good Sauvignon Blancs; these are ravishingly complex white wines that have a kinship with the greatest white Bordeaux.
Napa’s “Super Sauvignons” would be right at home in a blind tasting with, say, Domaine de Chevalier and Château Haut-Brion Blanc—two of the most treasured white wines in the world.
Here’s what these Super Sauvignons are not: they are not simple. They taste nothing like New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, for example, which are generally straightforward and unfussy.
7 Sophisticated Sauvignon Blancs from Napa and Sonoma
Forbes, August 2023
If you enjoy the clean zippy taste of sauvignon blanc wines, you are not alone. Indeed, sauvignon blanc has been one of the fastest growing wine varieties in the U.S. market over the past several years, according to NielsenIQ. With its classic notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, and gooseberry, it is a popular wine for summer sipping, but also for food-pairing, due to its bright acidity.
But did you know that sauvignon blanc has an ancient heritage, and is actually the main variety in some of the world’s most expensive white wines?
A Delicious Range from Napa Valley
Wine Spectator, April 2023
With the 2020 vintage of California Cabernet notably reduced in both number of offerings and quality due to the wildfires that affected many vineyards near harvest time, the 2019s and 2018s continue to be your best bets right now. ... This selection of new releases shows off not only the stylistic differences between these two vintages, but the terrific diversity that California Cabernet now offers. There's a pair of densely structured and packed Abreu wines from winemaker Brad Grimes, alongside the lush, broad and classic Oakville style of Accendo from winemaker Nigel Kinsman
The 11 Best Wines for your Holiday Feast, from Napa Cab to Burgundy Grand Cru
Robb Report, December 2022
Sharing a meal with family and friends is one of the joys of the holiday season, and few things let them know how much you really care like opening some special bottles when they are gathered around your table...we know most of our guests are carnivores looking for some bold holiday reds...
The 30-Year Collaboration of the Araujos and Françoise Peschon
Jancis Robinson, October 2022
This year's harvest marks 30 years since admired winemaker Françoise Peschon started making wine with Bart and Daphne Araujo. What makes that remarkable is not only that they've worked together now for three decades (which is already uncommon), but that it's been through multiple wineries.
Napa Cabernet 2019: Full Vintage Report and Top-Scoring Wines
Decanter, September 2022
Energy, freshness and balance characterize Napa Valley’s 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon vintage, which will find broad appeal. The best are incredibly approachable, already showing intricate layers of complexity through the vivid upfront dark fruit, but also boast the structure to cellar for decades thanks to ultra-fine tannins and ample acid tension. ‘In time, we believe 2019 will prove to be one of the standout vintages of the decade,’...
Best of the Best, 34th Annual
Robb Report, June 2022
...in 2013, the Araujos embarked on tastings that led them back to the balance and longevity of earlier Napa Valley reds–wines made from multiple sites across the valley. So for their new Accendo Cellars brand, they pivoted to the art of the blend, mingling fruit from a mix of the valley’s most coveted vineyards, the strengths of each chosen wine, according to Bart, complementing the high points of all the others.
The New Super Sauvignons
WineSpeed, May 2022
One of the most exciting developments in wine over the last several years has been the emergence of a whole new class of California Sauvignon Blancs—wines that are bright, minerally, sophisticated, and complex, often with a ravishing raciness and richness. I call them the Super Sauvignons...
13 Outstanding Sauvignon Blancs That You'll Want To Sip All Spring
Robb Report, March 2022
Tasting the newest Sauvignon Blancs, from California and Washington in particular, has more than confirmed that good West Coast versions are anything but simplistic. Layers of complexity—nuances of fruit, yes, but also florals, herbs and minerality, and mouth-filling weight and texture—create compelling wines.
11 'Perfect' 100-Point Wines You Can Buy Right Now
Robb Report, February 2022
When it comes to wine critics’ scores—whether they sway you in any meaningful way or not—there are some thresholds that arguably matter. A bottle tagged with a 90 on the 100-point scale is in decent standing (if not in stellar position) on shop shelves, but drop that a single point, and it will languish; no one goes out looking for an 89. Halfway into the 90s is another milestone: Scores of 95 and over are downright impressive. In that range, the critics might quibble about nuance and style, but if their numbers are all clustered north of 95, they agree the wine is terrific.
The most compelling achievement, of course, is the century mark. Fully aware of the bragging rights (and marketing bonanza) riding on that perfect-100, critics don’t give it lightly. It’s the one score they’ve put the most serious thought into, and can back up with meaningful high praise.
New Sips in Napa and Sonoma
Napa Sonoma Magazine, December 2021
2018 Accendo Cellars Laurea Napa Valley Red Wine, Napa: The Araujo family's home base and high-end custom crush facility is the ideal spot to taste this Bordeaux blend. The facility has come into its own, located on one of the more majestic valley floor locations.
2021 Winemaker of the Year - Françoise Peschon
Vinous, December 2021
As 2021 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on the year behind and take a look at what lies ahead. There were certainly plenty of ups and downs, but as I write this I am incredibly energized about the future.
Winemaker of the Year - Françoise Peschon, Napa Valley, United States
Each and every year I have the immense privilege - and it is a privilege - to visit leading wineries all over the world to taste with many talented winemakers. It's a long list. The Winemaker of the Year award is meant to recognize someone whose achievements transcend craft, someone who stands apart from the crowd. This year's winner is Françoise Peschon.
11 Outstanding Reds From Famed Napa Winemakers That Won't Break the Bank
Robb Report, November 2021
When the Araujo family sold their legendary Eisele Vineyard, they very deliberately shifted from the single-vineyard model to multi-vineyard blending for their new brand, Accendo Cellars. The 2018 Laurea is the first vintage of the “second” wine they created, to benefit from the great fruit from their great vineyard sources that didn’t make the cut in their rigorous blending sessions for Accendo.
The Beauty of Cabernet: The 2018 vintage sets a new bar
Wine Spectator, November 2021
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley has built a “can’t miss” reputation. This is true across California, but especially so in Napa, where there are rarely difficult vintages and the grape has become the region’s unquestioned lead player, representing more than half of the valley’s total plantings (23,500 acres, up from 18,246 acres in 2010). The result has been an ongoing string of excellent vintages...top 2018s in this report include the Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2018 (97, $365).
Exquisite Wine Gifts From Around The Bay Area For Everyone On Your List
Haute Living SF, November 2021
From wines for the tech guru in your life and the photography aficionado to the rock n’ roll fan and the magnum lover, we’ve got a fabulous holiday list for you! We’ve even tapped a few Bay Area wine experts to offer a few of their top bottle choices this year from our nearby wine regions. And you’ll find a few accessories and non-wine ideas in the mix, as well. Cheers to the holidays!
An Exploration of Napa Cabernet
Wine Spectator, October 2021
The winemaking and grapegrowing styles of California Cabernet Sauvignon were on full display at the Wine Experience on Friday in a seminar featuring four stellar wines from Napa Valley. Moderated by Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth, the seminar was an exploration of the philosophical and historical factors that influence how grapes are grown, how wine is made and how those factors enrich the final product.
What the Araujos did next
Club Oenologique 9, September 2021
For 23 years, Bart and Daphne Araujo owned Eisele Vineyard, arguably the most vaunted vineyard in Napa Valley. And now they don't. Instead, they have a new winery, Accendo, where they make fine wine from vineyards they don't own, dotted around the valley, emulating both the approach and style of Napa winemakers of the 1970s. But while the vineyard sources are impeccable, non will ever have the pedigree of the one they sold.
During their time owning Eisele, the Araujos cemented its name in Napa folklore. They completely renovated the vineyard, replanting all the vines, which were threatened by phylloxera.
13 Wines That Prove 2018 Is One of the Best Vintages of the Decade
Robb Report, August 2021
It would be a mistake to think that, in sun-drenched Northern California wine country, all vintages are created equal. It’s true that California vineyards rarely struggle to ripen as those in Old World regions often do, but a late frost can threaten after bud break; a sudden August heat spike can send sugar levels surging; a fire…enough said.
But then there was 2018. After several years of drought, generous rain set vineyards up with the moisture they needed.
The Stars of 2018
Wine Spectator, July 2021
Following last week’s collection of 2018 California Cabernets, we're bringing you another bevy of top releases, all recently blind-tasted in our Napa office. These wines showcase the profile of the 2018 vintage: pure, vivid, yet remarkably restrained and focused fruit, with perfectly embedded structure. It’s a very sleek and refined set of wines.
Highlighted here is the Oakville AVA, the filet mignon of Napa Cabernet growing areas. These wines always show a tug of warm loam and iron minerality, buried deep in a core of rich, plush cassis and plum fruit, often backed by flashes of menthol, licorice and tobacco.
The Nobleman Wine List
In the Know Spirits
The Nobleman, June 2021
Accendo Cellars 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley is a complex, rich and confident wine that can certainly hold its own. Aged in French oak barrels for 21 months, this delicious wine will develop beautifully for years to come.
How To Drink More Consciously In The Age Of Covid-19
Hong Kong Tatler, May 2021
There’s a cardboard crate of wine sitting near my desk that feels, in the context of our Covid-19-fixated world, like a relic from a bygone era. “Don’t get off the couch,” it urges in a large, friendly voice. “It’s wine o’clock.” It seems to harken back to a time when a spell on the couch with a glass sounded like a tempting indulgence, rather than the only option after yet another set of plans got Covid-cancelled.
Indeed, who among us has not logged more couch time than we ever thought possible? In this work-from-home, learn-from-home, play-from-home era, it’s certainly understandable to seek a little escapism through wine, which, with its inextricable link to its place of origin, can transport us to remote places and eras, at least in our minds.
The World In A Glass - New from the Araujo Family
Napa Valley Register, April 2021
Creating a new wine is easy; what is difficult is finding a new name.
Last year, when Araujo family decided to add a third Bordeaux blend to their Accendo Cellars portfolio, they had a clear goal: To use the wines that didn’t fit their flagship Accendo profile and create a “more approachable but still serious Cab-based blend.”
2018 Napa Cabernets Shine at Accendo, J.H. Wheeler and Trois Noix
Wine Spectator, March 2021
Napa Valley veteran Bart Araujo and family are building an admirable track record with a trio of young wine labels. Wine Spectator senior editor James Molesworth tastes six Cabernets from the 2018 vintage.
Karen MacNeil's WineSpeed, People to Know: Bart and Daphne Araujo
WineSpeed, February 2021
An interview with Karen MacNeil and Bart and Daphne Araujo discussing the Araujo’s new wine brand—Accendo Cellars.
Napa Valley's Accendo Cellars Introduces a New Label: Laurea
65˚ & 57˚ Magazine, February 2021
The Araujo family of Napa Valley's Accendo Cellars has introduced to their premium portfolio of varietals a more affordable wine that is ready to drink now. Like many vintners who produce ultra-high end, collectable wines, the family sought to create a more approachable label; a wine for all occasions to be enjoyed mid-week with a simple plate of pasta.
Jancis Robinson on the next generation of California winemakers
Financial Times, September 2020
But by no means all next generation-ers are male. Jaime Araujo’s parents established the widely admired, biodynamically run Araujo Estate so successfully that they were made an oer they couldn’t refuse by François Pinault’s wine group. Renamed Eisele Vineyard, it is now a sister operation to Ch Latour of Pauillac.
The Araujo parents have since set up from scratch once more, their new label being Accendo, made at their upmarket custom-crush facility Wheeler Farms.
The 11 Best Sauvignon Blancs of 2020
Robb Report, June 2020
A second iteration for Napa’s Araujo family, Accendo is making top-notch Sauvignon Blanc a priority, with the help of consulting winemaker Michel Rolland and viticulturist Steve Matthiasson. This vintage—made in a mix of new and used French oak, concrete and stainless-steel drums, and aged sur lie—is an exquisite, complex example of the best Napa can produce. A spiced sachet of aromas includes fragrant jasmine, guava and hints of vanilla, and an orchardful of citrus (grapefruit, tangerine, lime zest) is rounded out by peach flavors, with vivid tension balanced by elegant creaminess.
2017 & 2018 Napa In Depth
Vinous, January 2020
Bart and Daphne Araujo's Accendo wines keep getting better. The 2018 Sauvignon Blanc is the finest vintage of that wine yet. In Cabernet land, the Araujos continue to refine their approach to the sites they work with. Their 2017 Cabernet is fabulous; the 2016 is just as terrific as it was last year, and the 2018 (which I tasted from separate components) is looking like it, too, will be stellar. Going back to the 2017 for a second, a big part of what makes that wine special is that it was made at the Araujos' state of the art Wheeler Farms custom crush facility, designed by winemaker Nigel Kinsman. Equipped with generator power and the most modern equipment, Wheeler Farms operated through the October 2017 fires with no interruptions, which is quite remarkable.
2019 Winemaker of the Year: Françoise Peschon
San Francisco Chronicle , December 2019
It’s in vogue for winemakers to deny that they impose “style” on their wines, to say they’re merely letting the vineyard speak. Peschon’s tendency to downplay her own role is earnest, but it’s also not entirely accurate. “She says it’s all the vineyards,” says Accendo Cellars owner Bart Araujo. “Well, I’m sorry, it’s not quite that simple. There has to be a shepherd. Francoise seems to have this intuitive ability to respect the science but also move beyond it, to a place of creativity.”
A Benchmark Year: Annual California Cabernet Report
Wine Spectator, November 2019
This elite group includes the Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016 (96, $360). Richly layered, offering ripe cassis, plum preserves, boysenberry reduction and açaí berry fruit flavors. A beautiful display of fruit.
The New Generation of Napa Valley Vintners
Wine Enthusiast, October 2019
“You can’t have a successful multigenerational business without tapping into 100% of the talent. My dad [Bart Araujo] has this expression that he doesn’t want to be 100% better than anyone. He wants to be 1% better in a hundred different ways. There’s no such thing as repeating your success in wine. It’s chaos theory meets alcoholic beverage. You always have to find new ways of looking at things.” - Jaime Araujo interviewed by Virginie Boone
Decanter, October 2019
After selling the Araujo estate along with the Eisele Vineyard to François Pinault of Château Latour in 2013, Bart and Daphne Araujo founded Accendo (Latin for kindle, illuminate, inflame) in the heart of the valley. Their longtime winemakers Françoise Peschon and Nigel Kinsman moved with them. The 2016 soars with savory flavors and wonderful minerality. A relatively high percentage of Cabernet Franc for this estate gives the wine exquisite baritone richness. Already it’s a wine of finesse, without a shred of heaviness.
Super Sauvignons: A Whole New Class of Sauvignon Blanc
WineSpeed, May 2019
ACCENDO CELLARS Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Napa Valley, California) Beautiful long swaths of creamy green notes. Fresh and pure. Gooseberry and boxwood notes. 93 points
Bart Araujo Earns an 'A' with Accendo Cellars
Wine Spectator, September 2018
When the Araujos arrived in Napa and purchased Eisele Vineyard in 1990, they were seen as outsiders, with some questioning what might happen to such an iconic vineyard in the hands of new-to-wine owners. During their tenure, the Araujos elevated Eisele Vineyard to new heights. With Accendo, they're paying homage to Napa's past while fashioning a wine in a more modern vein, and they're doing so by letting the wine dictate itself. No one is questioning them now.
The new names to know in Napa
Decanter, September 2018
Bart and Daphne Araujo are hardly new names. They spent 25 years burnishing the reputation of Araujo Estate and its legendary Eisele Vineyard before selling it to François Pinault, owner of Château Latour, in 2013. But they soon plunged into a very different project, whose wines debuted under their new Accendo Cellars label two years ago. (The Latin word accendo means ‘to inflame or arouse’.) Rather than create a single-vineyard red, they’re blending purchased fruit from friends’ top vineyards with their own plots in St Helena and Oakville to make an elegant, lushly fruity Cabernet Sauvignon. The idea is to echo the blended wines of an earlier era in Napa. Added to that is a crisp yet opulent and complex Sauvignon Blanc.
Napa Sonoma Magazine, April 2018
After they sold the winery in 2013 to the storied Bordeaux estate Château Latour, the Araujos hoped to give back to the industry that had supported them wholeheartedly. Bart also had a wealth of winemaking savvy to share. "After having a winery for 27 years, we had a sense of what was necessary to produce wine at the highest level," Bart says. He set out to craft an atelier of sorts, where a handful of winemakers would collaborate.
The New White Wine Paradigm
Covey Rise, April 2018
In the Napa Valley alone, there are currently more than 25 Sauvignon Blancs that cost more than $50 a bottle. Sauvignon Blancs such as Illumination, Accendo, Lail Vineyards “Georgia,” Araujo, Matanzas Creek “Journey,” Rudd, and Spottswoode are at the forefront of this new style of Sauvignon Blanc that’s the most exciting thing happening right now with white wine in the US.
Two 'second acts' in the Napa Valley wine industry
Napa Valley Register, March 2018
Napa Locals share their favorite Wine Country Hot Spots
Robb Report, January 2018
Make an appointment to visit Wheeler Farms, a new winery and farm in St. Helena. After a tour of their flawless gardens and winery, taste their Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc with snacks made from whatever is fresh from the garden. ~ Thomas Keller interviewed by Michalene Busico
The Hot New Wines out of Napa Valley are White
Bloomberg, February 2017
2014 Accendo Cellars Sauvignon Blanc ($50) The crisp, pure 100 percent sauvignon blanc is the second vintage from a new buzzed-about winery. It’s citrusy and bright, with exceptional balance and intensity.
Wines to Know
WineSpeed, December 2016
Bart and Daphne Araujo sold their prestigious Napa Valley winery Araujo to First Growth Château Latour in 2013. Accendo (pronounced ah-CHEN-doe) is their new venture, and this is the very first vintage of the cabernet. The wine is majestic. Simultaneously restrained and yet bursting with internal energy, it’s a racehorse stamping in wait for the gate to be flung open. The dark, woodsy aromas are intoxicating. The flavors—spicy, primordial andexotic—are vividly precise. The word Accendo means to kindle, illuminate, inflame and arouse. A must try—right?
Two New Cult Wines Are About to Debut in Napa: All the Details
Bloomberg, March 2016
“We decided to do something different,” said Bart. Instead of a single-vineyard cabernet like Araujo Estate, the first Accendo Cellars red is a blend from five top vineyards, including a couple that the Araujos own. This uber-blend (as they call it) harks back to Napa’s history in the 1960s and '70s, before astronomically priced single-vineyard wines became the rage.
Anson on Thursday: What the Araujo family did next after selling to Latour owner
Decanter, March 2016
Bart and Daphne Araujo have started again after selling their namesake California wine estate to one of France's richest men, Francois Pinault, who also owns Château Latour in Bordeaux. Jane Anson finds out about the new Araujo wine venture - and predicts good things to come.