La Jota W.S. Keyes Chardonnay 2017  Front Label
La Jota W.S. Keyes Chardonnay 2017  Front LabelLa Jota W.S. Keyes Chardonnay 2017  Front Bottle Shot

La Jota W.S. Keyes Chardonnay 2017

  • RP93
  • JD93
750ML / 13% ABV
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750ML / 13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Having less than 10% new oak, and most of the texture coming from 22-months of stirring on the lees, this wine’s purpose is showcasing the Chardonnay variety. The screaming minerality that would have been masked by oak is the terroir of Howell Mountain shining through. Combined with crisp pears, white peach, refreshing acidity, and fresh baked bread notes – this is a wine ready to drink now, but also built to age.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2017 Chardonnay W.S. Keyes comes from vines planted in 1992-1993. One-third of the wine went directly to barrel (dirty) and the other two-thirds was settled and barrel fermented. It was aged in 10% new oak. It leaps from the glass with notes of honeyed white peaches, lemon tart, Golden Delicious apples and lime blossoms plus hints of marzipan and lemongrass. Medium-bodied with a seriously racy backbone and loads of intense citrus and stone fruit layers, it has a lovely satiny texture and long chalky finish.
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
There are just over 500 cases of the 2017 Chardonnay W.S. Keyes, which comes from a single block of the Keyes Vineyard on Howell Mountain. Seeing no malolactic fermentation and aged in 10% new French, it has Chablis-like citrus, lemon curd, and green apple notes as well as medium-bodied richness, bright yet integrated acidity, a light graceful texture, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.
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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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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.

SOU967269_2017 Item# 722153

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