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La Jota Vineyards

La Jota Vineyards Markham Vineyards had considered incorporating a few individual vineyard bottlings into its portfolio, so the January 2001 purchase of La Jota Vineyard Co. was a perfect fit. Tucked away atop Howell Mountain, the historic winery is being carefully restored and updated. "Our goal," says winemaker, Kimberlee Nicholls "is to continue the tradition of hand-crafting estate grown wines with a sense of place." Estate vineyards total 28 acres, with some replanting currently in progress. New clones have been selected and mixed with the original older plantings to keep Cabernet "King" at La Jota. It has been an amazing opportunity to learn from the grapes (and wines) produced in such a phenomenal appellation. Our vineyards, at a minimum elevation of 1800 feet above sea level, get a dusting of snow at least once every winter. In the summer months, the valley heat rises, keeping the mountain temperatures warm morning, noon and night. This allows the vines a long, slow, even ripening period so that come late September, things are just starting to get your attention. The wines are made in the vineyard, with careful attention paid to keep yields low, resulting in wines with distinctive, concentrated flavors that show the Howell Mountain terroir. Tasting for ripeness, harvesting by hand and careful sorting assure only the best fruit arrives cool from the vineyard ready to crush. Timing pumpovers to match the rate of fermentation and avoid over extraction is a must, as is extended maceration (or skin contact), up to 40 days on some lots, to tame the surly mountain tannins. The young wines go to French Oak barrels soon after pressing, where they spend the next 18 months. A brief mid-winter racking after the completion of secondary fermentation allows for clarification. While the original winery built in 1898 is beautiful, it didn't provide even simple luxuries like hot water for sanitation. A renovation of the winery and new caves were completed in Spring 2003. These caves will provide the appropriate temperature and humidity for finishing wines post-harvest. Hand-crafting also means hands-off, so fining and filtering are only used when necessary - balanced vines make balanced wines! "Wonderful things are happening and it's exciting to be a part of it. Life slows down when you're on the hill; you become one with the vine, the grape and the wine" says winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls wistfully.


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Address Web Social
1102 Las Posadas Road, Angwin, CA, US, 94508 Email:
Phone: 707-965-3020 Web:
Fax: 707-965-0324
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  20th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon
We have so much to celebrate with our 20th Anniversary Release, we took the opportunity to give our label a new look. The celebration continues in the glass - the nose is stunning, laden with raspberry jam, toasted hazelnut and gobs of vanilla. The Howell Mountain muscle has not so much been tamed as it has been integrated, achieving a balance between power and finesse. Ripe, round and rich in the mouth, the dense berry flavors finish with velvety smooth tannins. Save a bottle for a celebration of your own, this wine's evolution in the bottle is always fascinating (and rewarding!).
  Cabernet Franc
The exotic scent of this wine calls to mind a Merchant Ivory film. You can almost hear the sitar play as the intriguing sandalwood, cedar and vanilla notes swirl in the glass. Juicy berries and mint are evident on the palate, and highlights of French oak and toasted nut brittle complete the production. The distinctive Howell Mountain terroir and lush tannin structure make for a real chameleon in the glass.
  Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Classic Cabernet in every sense of the word! Cassis, black cherry, tobacco briar and toasty, vanilla oak are only the beginning. Jammy fruit flirts with bitter chocolate, and the whole is complemented by a violet-scented bouquet. After ten years of production, this Cabernet has hit its stride and each vintage claims its own set of admirers.
  Petite Sirah
Think "Rock Star," maybe Joan Jett - compact, powerful and clad in black leather. Violet, black plum and boysenberry aromas are layered with intense vanilla and sultry, smoky oak. Grippy Howell Mountain tannins are the bone, sweet berry and oak the flesh. There's plenty to chew on here. This Petite Sirah is sure to overpower any other wine in the room, so turn up the music and let this inky misfit out of her cage.


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