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La Jota 12th Anniversary Howell Mt. Cabernet Sauvignon 1993

Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
  • RP96
  • WS91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's 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.
WS 91
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.
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La Jota

La Jota Vineyards Co.

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La Jota Vineyards Co., Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
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La Jota wines are handcrafted at our original 1898 fieldstone winery and hillside cave. From the low yielding vines of 28 mountain acres, they produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and our crown jewel, the annual Heritage Release Cabernet Sauvignon (formerly the Anniversary Release).

While growing grapes in the nutrient-lean, volcanic soils of the La Jota estate is a challenge, the rewards are undeniable. Highly concentrated flavors and muscular tannins slowly mature to perfection, while the cool winds, diurnal temperature swings and high altitude keep the grape acids impeccably balanced, revealing the distinctive voice of our estate.

Viticulturist, Mariano Navarro, and winemaker, Christopher Carpenter, understand the meticulous requirements of mountain farming and mountain winemaking. Their goal is to gently tame tannins while allowing the intriguing mineral, spice and sweet forest loam characters unique to our estate to enhance the complexity of our opulent fruit.

The result? La Jota wines offer elegance and cellar worthiness.

Howell Mountain

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Today Cabernet Sauvignon is the star of this part of Napa’s rugged, eastern hills, but Zinfandel was responsible for giving the Howell Mountain growing area its original fame in the late 1800s.

Winemaking in Howell Mountain was abandoned during Prohibition, and wasn’t reawakened until the arrival of Randy Dunn, a talented winemaker famous for the success of Caymus in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early eighties, he set his sights on the Napa hills and subsequently astonished the wine world with a Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Shortly thereafter Howell Mountain became officially recognized as the first sub-region of Napa Valley (1983).

With vineyards at 1,400 to 2,000 feet in elevation, they predominantly sit above the fog line but the days in Howell Mountain remain cooler than those in the heart of the valley, giving the grapes a bit more time on the vine.

The Howell Mountain AVA includes 1,000 acres of vineyards interspersed by forestlands in the Vaca Mountains. The soils, shallow and infertile with good drainage, are volcanic ash and red clay and produce highly concentrated berries with thick skins. The resulting wines are full of structure and potential to age.

Today Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah thrive in this sub-appellation, as well as its founding variety, Zinfandel.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

DISLAJOTA_1993 Item# 127212