Estate, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, Napa, CA ($125)
by Andrew Chalk
We are tasting a five-year-old Napa Cabernet Sauvignon wine so this is not an example of cradle snatching, nor is this wine pre-pubescent. However, it is also not yet at maturity. Rather, this age gives us a signal of how great the wine will become. Consider also that this wine is from Howell Mountain, a sub-appellation of Napa with a reputation for structured wines that mature slowly.
La Jota has a long (since 1898) and distinguished history. Jess Jackson purchased it in 2005 and Jackson Family Wines under his wife, Barbara Banke, continue it as a small, select, Howell Mountain estate since his passing.
That question, when will it peak, can never be answered decisively when it comes to wine but this glorious example has such structured tannins and intense fruit that I would not hesitate to try my next bottle in 10 years -- if I had one.
Appearance: Deep, opaque ruby with blackberry blue tinge;
Nose; Boysenberry, blackberry, black pepper, freshly cut wood;
Palate: Vibrant acid, intense boysenberry and raspberry fruit, oak