A winery perched on Howell Mountain, overlooking Napa Valley, this La Jota was originally founded in the 1890s by Fredrich Hess, an immigrant from Switzerland. Over time these wines received considerable accolades. In fact, they even received a gold medal at the World’s Fair of 1904 in St. Louis. Current wines are made from low yielding vines planted amongst 28 acres. The high altitude keeps the freshness and minerality to the wine. These vines are planted on volcanic soils at relatively high elevation which gives the red wines excellent richness and aging potential. The terroir of Howell Mountain also has colder temperatures at night, compared to the Napa Valley floor -- which leads to lower yields than the floor and also smaller but richly concentrated fruit. Being at higher elevation also protects the fruit from the intense temperatures sometimes experienced on the Napa floor.
Head winemaker, Christopher Carpenter has a B.A. in biology, as well as an M.B.A. in international business. After officially falling in love with wine, Carpenter completed the illustrious masters of viticulture and enology program at UC Davis. He took over as head winemaker at La Jota in 2005. His current releases were rich and impressive offerings. The 2012 Cabernet Franc is one of the best Napa bottlings I’ve tried this year. It mingles with its feminine side, with rich red fruit and acid structure that is drinking beautifully now. The 2012 Cabernet was a powerful effort that will need some time in the bottle to fully integrate. Similarly, the 2012 Merlot is powerful and rich that will benefit from 1-2 years in the bottle. Carpenter had a wonderful vintage to work with in 2012 but his winemaking is exceptional. These wines have the trademark mountain fruit and balance that you want from the Bordeaux varietals. Look for these wines at Northwest specialty wine shops such as Esquin and Wine World. You can also find them online at http://www.lajotavineyardco.com
Here are the impressive new releases from La Jota:#lajota
2012 La Jota ‘Howell Mountain’ Merlot-The wine comes from two vineyards located high upon a plateau overlooking Napa Valley: their estate vineyard and the W.S. Keyes vineyard. The grapes were hand-harvested and spent 20 months in French Oak (86% new). This wine opens with aromas of milk chocolate, toffee, black cherry and cassis. There are rich flavors of anise, creme de cassis, black cherry mocha and blackberry in this delicious cornucopia of fruit. This wine improves after an hour of decanting. While it is delicious now, it will improve with 1-2 years of cellaring. Drink 2016-2029- 93
2012 La Jota ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet- The La Jota Estate vineyard is located on a high volcanic plateau overlooking Napa Valley. Fruit was utilized from the state vineyard as well as the W.S. Keyes Estate vineyard, which is located one mile from their estate vineyard. The wine is comprised of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot. It saw 20 months in French Oak (89% new) and weighs in at 14.5% alcohol. The wine opens with aromatics of anise, cassis and red bell pepper in this somewhat muted nose. There are rich and dense flavors of anise, creme de cassis, blackberry and black olive. There is a dense and viscous mouthfeel. This wine is lovely right now but needs another hear or two in the bottle. Drink 2016-2035 -94
2012 La Jota ‘Howell Mountain’ Cabernet Franc- This wine comes from a very small vineyard, the Winery Block Vineyard, planted next to the winery on Howell Mountain. It spent 20 months in French Oak (81% new) prior to bottling. The wine has intense aromas of red bell pepper, dill, red cherry and raspberry. There are flavors of red bell pepper, anise, red cherry and black olive. The minerality and acid scripture is impressive. This is very hard to resist right now but try to cellar this one for another year. Drink 2016-2030 -94