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La Jota Vineyard Co. was founded in 1898 by Frederick Hess, an immigrant from Switzerland, who established a German-language newspaper in San Francisco. Hess purchased 327 acres of a Mexican land grant—Rancho La Jota—on Howell Mountain to plant vineyards. He built a stone winery from volcanic ash rock quarried on the property (a ghost winery) and his first fermentation tanks also came from Redwoods on the estate.
A gorgeous plot of land, La Jota Vineyard lies high upon a volcanic plateau, looking east over Napa Valley about 1500 ft above sea level. Surrounded by pine, fir, oak and madrone trees, the estate stands out because of its cool, windswept climate. The estate also stands out for their incredible quality of wine– always amongst the Napa Valley’s elite, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has seen the plot of land they have to work with.
It’s there that superstar winemaker, Chris Carptenter (previously at Cardinale) has been making some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc off the mountainous terrain. He does so with laser-like Napa Cabernets that have multiple layers, structured tannins and tremendous aging potential.
This one leads with plum, black licorice and black forest cake, while blackberry, dark roasted coffee and toasted oak seamlessly integrate on the palate. This vintage continues the legacy of truly profound Cabernet grown on the forested slopes of Howell Mountain.
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97 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain was aged for 22 months in oak barrels, 84% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes from the glass with bombastic black currants, black cherries and boysenberries notes plus underlying hints of violets, dark chocolate and tobacco leaf. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a solid structure of firm, grainy tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long and fragrant.”
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