This captivating wine is deep and rich, yielding aromas of anise, blackberry, and a touch of sage. It is uncommonly smooth and well balanced, with richly textured tannins and flavors of blueberry and mocha toast. La Jota’s signature line of bright minerality runs the length of this long, satisfying wine. The grapes for this Cabernet Sauvignon come from La Jota’s Howell Mountain vineyard and the historic W.S. Keyes vineyard nearby. The volcanic soils of this unique area, high on a mountain plateau, surrounded by whispering forest and bathed in a steady, gentle wind, have been the source of award-winning wines for over a century. This is the birthplace of La Jota terroir.
Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone, February 2017
The Wine Advocate, Robert M. Parker Jr., October 2015
This Howell Mountain Merlot comes from two of the finest vineyards in Napa Valley. The first, the forest-rimmed Meadow blocks on the La Jota estate, contribute a serious cocoa/chocolate character to the wine. The second is a short mile down the road at the historic W.S. Keyes estate vineyard, which gives this Merlot a "pop" of bright fruit character and broad tannins. Two very different vineyard personalities make one great wine. It is redolent of Chambord, black cherries and Asian spice, with milk chocolate, raspberry and sweet almond on the palate. The flavors are complex and satisfying, the texture is smooth, and the finish goes on and on.
Wine Enthusiast, Virginie Boone, March 2017
The grapes for this unique Cabernet Franc come entirely from a small, hardy vineyard, planted in 1976, located very near our nineteenth century stone winery building. Grafted onto resistant St. George rootstock, this vineyard is one of few that have so far managed to escape the ravages of the root louse phylloxera, and is consequently among the oldest Cabernet Franc vineyards in Napa Valley. These aging vines grow just enough leaves to maintain a perfect grape-to-canopy ratio, and the resulting wine is history in a glass: concentrated in flavor and beautifully balanced. Aromatics of ripe strawberry and rose petal carry from nose to palate, with notes of blueberry, green tea, white pepper, and vanilla. La Jota’s distinctive minerality carries the flavors into a long, ethereal finish.
Vinous Media, Antonio Galloni, October 2015
This wine, made to honor Howell Mountain vineyard pioneer W.S. Keyes, comes from some of the most highly prized Merlot vineyard land in the country. William S. Keyes first planted grapes in this rugged vineyard in 1888, noting that the rocky, shallow soils here reminded him of Mediterranean islands near Sicily. Very much like his nearby neighbor, the La Jota Vineyard Co., he was convinced that Howell Mountain’s high altitude and abundant sunlight could produce wines of great depth, complexity and ageability. This Merlot is made from venerable vines planted here in 1986, which have thus far avoided phylloxera infestation, hardy and full of character. The wine shows richly-textured notes of black cherry, dark chocolate, espresso bean and kirsch that capture the classic La Jota combination of intense fruit and mineral complexity. The finish is long and evocative.