We opened this on 7/23/2011 with Salmon and Pork Tenderloin at Manna Avenue in Wilmington, North Carolina. Araujo is located in the Napa Valley and the Eisele Vineyard is felt by many to produce some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. This wine is 91% cabernet sauvignon, 5% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot and 2% merlot. Araujo is considered to be a "cult" wine. We get our Araujo directly from the winery.
We opened a bottle of this about 2 years ago and it still amazes me how differently two bottles of the same wine can present. There are numerous factors at work which make this happen:
1) The wine has aged an additional two years.
2) The setting was completely different: inside a restaurant versus eating outside at home.
3) The amount of alcohol consumed (second bottle versus the third bottle in the company of friends) prior to opening this bottle is different.
4) The food was different: last night was Salmon (Oz) and Pork Tenderloin (Mike) versus Skirt Steak with Carne Asada 2 years ago.
5) The temperature of the wine varied somewhat. Last night we were in an appropriately cool restaurant while 2 years ago we were outside in July.
6) Last time we decanted and this time we settled for allowing the wine to sit in our glass 30 minutes before drinking it as the restaurant did not have a decanter.
7) Intangibles: undoubtedly psychology plays some role such that when in a great mood things seem better. In this case we were in a great mood on both occasions although one was a little more "party" with music and friends and last night was more a calm and subdued occasion.
We both liked the wine more 2 years ago. The color was essentially the same and was a deep red. On the nose is leather, tobacco and dark fruit but not particularly sweet. Perhaps due to not decanting, the wine just felt very "wound up" and really never opened up to its full potential. The first glass had hardened tannins and the acidity was glowing. As the evening went on, this improved. Gradually those tastes that we remembered started to shine through including everything from the nose but also a note of earth/barnyard that I did not notice 2 years ago. If you read online, the ratings range from 92 (IWC) to 98 (Wine Advocate). Wine spectator gave it 92 points. For me, this was a 90-92pt experience although two years ago I would have been more in the 96-97 range. Who knows what it may be tomorrow?!