La Jota 12th Anniversary Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon 1993
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The Wine Advocate - "Proprietors Bill and Joan Smith are two of the nicest, most modest vineyard/winery owners I have ever met. They have turned La Jota into one of the great names in California winedom. Along with Randy Dunn, Peter Michael, and Beringer, they are getting more out of Howell Mountain fruit than any other California producer. The Smiths modestly give considerable credit to Helen Turley, who consulted at La Jota in 1992 and 1993, for opening their eyes to the possibilities of producing great red wines from Howell Mountain without the astringent tannin normally associated with this mountain appellation. Although the La Jota Cabernets possess high tannin levels, the tannins are velvety and sweet. The 1992s were so extraordinary at this winery, it is hard to believe that the 1993s and 1994s could be their equal. Moreover, both Joan and Bill Smith believe that 1995 produced the greatest raw materials in the short history of this winery. I tasted through their 1995s as the wines had finished malolactic fermentation and were surprisingly evolved, even though the harvest had just been completed. They look brilliant, but more on those wines after they have had some time in barrel."
Wine Spectator - "A well-oaked style, featuring lots of vanilla and toasty, smoky oak. Underneath, the currant, cherry and mineral flavors are full-blown, finishing in strong wood and plush tannins."
La Jota Winery
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About Napa Valley
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.