Where rivers, creeks and property lines usually define an AVA, the Howell Mountain boundaries are defined by a 1,400 foot elevation contour line as the lowest point and the highest vineyards at 2,500 feet above sea level. The vines share the mountain with pines, oaks, madrone and coastal redwoods.
On many summer mornings, a white blanket of coastal fog covers the Napa Valley. Howell Mountain, in stark contrast, rises gracefully above the fog line, giving it slightly warmer nighttime temperatures and cooler mid-day temperatures than the valley floor. While the differences in temperature are still pronounced enough to maintain balanced acidity in the grapes, the steadier climate allows the berries to develop thicker skins that impart intense color, texture and structure to wines.
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.
19 months in French oak (90% new)
On the palate, the 2014 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon has dark chocolate, espresso, ripe blackberry, and a hint of Petit Verdot finishing with a great mid palate weight and earthy tannic structure, there is no doubt you are drinking a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.