HISTORY: The wines of La Jota have deep roots in Napa Valley. Back in 1888, winemaking pioneer W.S. Keyes planted some of the first vines on Howell Mountain, and 10 years later his contemporary, Fredrick Hess, built a stone winery and established La Jota Vineyard Co., named for its location on the Mexican parcel Rancho La Jota. Both men won medals for their Howell Mountain wines in the Paris Exposition of 1900. Today, La Jota Vineyard Co. proudly carries on this great legacy with its small-production mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. All La Jota wines are sourced from the winery’s estate and from nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard, and they capture the intense fruit and mineral complexity of these cool-climate origins.
VINEYARD: The La Jota Vineyard lies high upon a volcanic plateau, looking east over Napa Valley. Surrounded by pine, fir, oak and madrone trees, the estate stands out because of its cool, windswept climate. Here we look to vineyard blocks that produce soft-textured Cabernet Sauvignon for wines of earlier approachability, and where the decomposed granite soils of our W.S. Keyes vineyard impart a pop of bright fruit character and broader tannins. WINEMAKING We hand-harvested grapes into small, 30-pound boxes to prevent crushing, and then we brought them to the winery for hand-sorting. After destemming and light crushing, the must was cold-soaked for gentle color, flavor and tannin extraction. Winemaker Chris Carpenter fermented the juice with native yeast in a combination of open- and closed-top stainless steel tanks. Following gentle basket press, the wine underwent in-barrel malolactic fermentation, rounding the acidity and integrating the vanilla character of French oak (89% new).
WINEMAKER’S COMMENTS: The 2012 growing season was near perfect, with ideal spring budbreak and warm, steady days balanced by cool nights. The steady weather continued into the fall, resulting in optimal ripening conditions at harvest. Our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon has deep berry aromas and flavors accented by notes of anise and bittersweet chocolate. Classic, full-on Howell Mountain texture supports this wine right through the lengthy finish and will allow it to age for decades in the bottle.
ACCLAIM: 92 Points - La Jota’s Cabernet Sauvignon “boasts a dense purple color as well as copious notes of licorice, crème de cassis, road tar, charcoal and mulberries. With exceptional fruit intensity, full-bodied opulence, decent acidity and sweet, lush, well-integrated tannin, it should drink well for 10-15+ years.” - Robert M. Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate, October 2014