Expressing the nobility and purity of the terroir
The Accendo Cellars portfolio consists of three Napa Valley wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Laurea Red Wine. Each is an uncompromising blend composed by two generations of the Araujo family and our longstanding winemaking team. Grapes are sourced from some of Napa Valley’s finest terroirs, focusing on Oakville and Yountville.
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“I find winemaking truly fascinating because, at its highest level, it requires a combination of technical and scientific expertise plus a level of artistic interpretation and instinct. It is humbling that, no matter how much you do, or how much you invest, you can only ever really control 50% of the variables that impact you.”
Many of the iconic Cabernet Sauvignons dating from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s were sourced from multiple, exceptional vineyard sites throughout Napa Valley. Brilliant in their youth, the best of these wines are still vibrant and pure fifty and more years later.
Accendo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon is modeled after this ideal: an uber blend utilizing impeccable fruit from superior vineyard sites, fashioned in a winemaking style that emphasizes elegance, balance, freshness and finesse. Accessible at a young age, yet with the concentration and complexity required for extended cellaring, Accendo Cabernet Sauvignon is a quintessential expression of Napa Valley terroir.
In the past three decades, we have witnessed many Napa Valley vineyards convert their vines to Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are sites where extraordinary Sauvignon Blanc is still nurtured today. We have located one such site from which we are sourcing grapes for our wine, and have planted two other sites that show great promise.
Much like our Cabernet Sauvignon, Accendo Sauvignon Blanc is the product of discriminating fruit sourcing and conscientious, diligent farming. The wine is powerful, yet it possesses a delicacy and artfulness that can only come with a winemaking philosophy that honors the integrity of the fruit and the vineyard’s terroir. We give this wine extra time in barrel and bottle prior to each release, resulting in an exquisitely balanced Sauvignon Blanc that is aromatically complex, concentrated in flavor and richly textured – a wine influenced by both a Graves from Bordeaux and a Sauvignon Blanc from the New World.
Laurea Red Wine
Laurea, a Napa Valley red wine, is produced in the style of a Bordeaux blend, made from a strict selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot sourced from some of the same vineyards used in our Accendo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Carefully chosen lots are blended by our winemaker Nigel Kinsman to create a wine of balance, purity and complexity.
We drew inspiration for Laurea from the name ‘Daphne’, the Greek word for ‘Laurel’. According to Greek mythology, Apollo, who had been shot with an arrow by Cupid, fell deeply in love with Daphne, a river nymph. But Cupid had shot her with an arrow that caused her to loathe the first person she saw, and when she saw Apollo in pursuit, she was desperate to escape him. Terrified, she begged her father to rescue her, and taking pity on her plight, he transformed Daphne into a laurel tree just as Apollo reached her side. Heartbroken by his loss of her, Apollo honored her memory by gathering branches of the laurel tree and forming a wreath, which he used to crown the heads of victors in battle, sports and literary pursuits. Today, Laurea is Latin for honor and achievement.
We were first introduced to this eau de vie ("water of life") in Burgundy, where it is known as Marc, in the early 1990s when we were traveling to Europe to familiarize ourselves with other wine cultures. After we had a few vintages behind us at the Eisele Vineyard, and with our experience with Marc, we started questioning if we could do a similar beverage with our leftover grape pomace at the end of every harvest. Then, during a later trip to Italy we came to appreciate Grappa, which was experiencing a renaissance as fine producers like Nonino and Jacopo Poli immediately distilled the fresh grape pomace and added a small amount of fermenting must. We were fascinated by the result, which was quite floral and complex, a complete departure from our earlier perceptions of the spirit. Every harvest moving forward, using this technique and with our winemakers and the distilling expertise of Jörg Rupf and Lance Winters, (the master distillers at St. George Spirits), we produced a Grappa from the Eisele Vineyard. The last Araujo Estate Grappa was produced by us in 2012. In 2020 when it became clear we could not make red wines that would meet or exceed the quality you have come to expect from Accendo Cellars, we turned to our past and decided to make Grappa, once again collaborating with the master distillers at St. George Spirits.