2018 Accendo Cellars "Laurea" Napa Valley Red Wine
2018 Accendo Cellars "Laurea" Napa Valley Red Wine
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2018 Accendo Cellars "Laurea" Napa Valley Red Wine

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The opulent nose of this wine exhibits fresh and bright aromas of cranberries and raspberries, cedar and tobacco, with notes of dried flowers and herbs. In the mouth, the palate is juicy, rich and round, full of ripe flavors of red fruits carried by a framework of fine tannins that give the wine structure and grip, ending in a delicious, long finish with lingering touches of minerality.

“With this first vintage of Laurea, we have produced a wine that is approachable and pleasurable now, but it will age gracefully over time. Its fantastic flavors are juicy and friendly, and express an immediacy and charm that are irresistible.”

- Nigel Kinsman, winemaker


2018 is the inaugural vintage of Laurea. After blending the Accendo Cellars flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, we realized that there was some really good wine that didn’t fit the profile of the first wine. We decided to explore creating a new blend using some of the wine lots, many of which were used partly in the first wine, while others came from our younger vineyards. Our goal was to produce a more approachable, but still serious Cabernet-based blend.

We drew inspiration for Laurea from Daphne, which means "Laurel" in Greek. According to Greek mythology, Daphne was a river nymph loved by Apollo. Unfortunately for him, she was not interested, but that didn't stop his pursuit of her. She asked her father, Peneus, to transform her into something that would discourage Apollo. Peneus changed Daphne to a Laurel tree, as depicted by a statue sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) in 1622 on display in Rome's Galleria Borghese. Apollo's love for Daphne never ceased. He chose to remember her by claiming the Laurel tree as his symbol, and wore a laurel-leaf crown, which became synonymous with victors.


2018 in Napa Valley will be remembered as a moderate growing season, a welcome change from some very warm temperatures in previous years, and in terms of tons crushed, it was a record-breaking vintage. After soaking rains in March and April, fruitful buds and consistent temperatures during bloom in late May resulted in almost perfect fruit set. Summer months were characterized by mild temperatures, and with veraison finishing in July, the full clusters benefitted from long hang times in cool weather, maintaining their freshness and acidity. Winemakers were giddy with expectation as the generous crop continued to ripen slowly and evenly during superb September weather conditions, delaying the need to harvest; our first pick of Cabernet Sauvignon was not until October 1st at Vine Hill Ranch. Our long, leisurely harvest was completed on October 20th with Petit Verdot from Thorevilos Vineyard. The grapes were all harvested by hand and brought to Wheeler Farms Winery for crush. The resulting wine was aged in new and used French oak barrels for 21 months and bottled on July 23rd, 2020


94pts Vinous

"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Laurea is a new wine in this range. It is a very serious second wine, if that term can even be used here. Red cherry, plum, cedar, gravel tobacco and dried flowers are some of the many aromas and flavors that build in the glass. Next to the flagship Cabernet, Laurea has a slightly redder fruit profile and naturally a bit less intensity. Vineyard sources are Sleeping Lady, Upper Range and Diamond Mountain."

93pts Wine Spectator

"Juicy and lively, with lots of enticing licorice snap, plum sauce and blackberry compote notes bouncing through, carried by gutsy grip through the violet-tinged finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2032."

92pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

"Laurea is a new "second" wine making its debut this year. In the spirit of the former Araujo Estate Altagracia label, Jaime Araujo (daughter of Bart and Daphne) said, "This is not just a kitchen-sink second wine. We choose wines that are still gorgeous, but just a little more up front, juicier and fruity to go into this blend." The 2018 Laurea is a blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. It absolutely shines with red currant jelly, Morello cherries and black raspberry scents plus hints of dried mint and unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is taut yet plush with an approachable structure and tons of crunchy fruit, finishing with a compelling lift. (LPB)"