La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016  Front Label
La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016  Front LabelLa Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016  Front Bottle Shot

La Jota Howell Mountain Merlot 2016

  • JD96
  • WS95
  • WE95
  • RP94
  • JS94
750ML / 14.9% ABV
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4.7 11 Ratings
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4.7 11 Ratings
750ML / 14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#37 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019

The 2016 La Jota Merlot encompasses all that is mountain Merlot with a structure to relish. Notes of espresso, dark chocolate, and toast follow ripe blackberry, minerality, and weight on the palate.

Critical Acclaim

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JD 96
Jeb Dunnuck
One of the top Merlots in the report is certainly the 2016 Merlot Howell Mountain from La Jota. This fabulous wine boasts a deep purple color as well as a true “wow” nose of blackberries, ripe cherries, spice, bay leaf, and ample savory, complex herbal notes. It’s medium to full-bodied, has a layered, balanced style, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Drink it any time over the coming two decades.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
An elegant style, featuring lilting flavors of red currant and dried raspberry that show hints of cedar and paprika. Fine-edged, with savory richness midpalate. Dried green herbal notes emerge on the minerally finish. Drink now through 2026.
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast

This tremendously impressive red wine is blended with small amounts of Petit Verdot and Tannat and given 20 months in French oak, a good majority of it new. Reductive at first, it expands to show root beer, cedar and dried herb in a classically structured and hugely concentrated frame of big tannin and weight. Enjoy 2026–2031. Cellar Selection

RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Blended of 90% Merlot, 5.5% Petit Verdot and 4.5% Tannat, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Merlot Howell Mountain struts out of the glass with vivacious notions of preserved plums, Black Forest cake and blackberry compote with touches of baking spices, black soil, truffles and licorice. The palate is full, rich, concentrated and earthy with firm, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and earthy.
JS 94
James Suckling
This is a layered and round-textured wine with dark berries, chocolate and terracotta. Full body. Juicy fruit. Flavorful finish. Drink after 2021.
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La Jota

La Jota Vineyards Co.

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La Jota Vineyards Co., California
La Jota Vineyards Co. Winery Video

The wines of La Jota have deep roots in Napa Valley. Back in 1888, winemaking pioneer W.S. Keyes planted some of the first vines on Howell Mountain, and 10 years later his contemporary, Fredrick Hess, built a stone winery and established La Jota Vineyard Co., named for its location on the Mexican parcel Rancho La Jota. Both men won medals for their Howell Mountain wines in the Paris Exposition of 1900.

 Today, La Jota Vineyard Co. proudly carries on this great legacy with its small-production mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay. All La Jota wines are sourced from the winery’s estate and from nearby W.S. Keyes Vineyard, and they capture the intense fruit and mineral complexity of these cool-climate origins.

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Howell Mountain Wine

Napa Valley, California

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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.

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With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

SOU952620_2016 Item# 540898

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