The 2019 vintage brought us lots of winter rain, frequent foggy spring mornings, and a mild summer with just a handful of brief heat spikes. Temperate fall weather allowed for extended hang time, and our last fruit came off the vines in late October. A benchmark vintage, the 2019 Mt. Brave Cabernet shows notes of black cherry, blueberry, and Asian spice. On the palate, the wine has a profound density of fruit that is structured by fine tannins, while the perfectly balanced acidity elongates a long, savory finish
Edition 39 | September 2022
Hello Mountain Wine Club!
The September Mountain Wine Club shipment is an exploration of some of Napa’s Finest mountain AVAs. What do grapes grown high above the fog line taste like? How can two mountain-grown Cabernets be so distinctive? The combination of soil and light are powerful forces in the creation of great wine. That’s the beauty of terroir; it’s what drives people to study and travel and taste as many wines as they can.
The 2019 Mount Brave Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the ancient seabed soils of Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley’s largest AVA. While it has the most acreage—a total of over 15,000 acres surrounding the eponymous mountain—only about 1,000 are planted to grapes. This is rugged terrain, a harsh and demanding place to grow anything, where we must eschew most modern mechanized viticulture practices. The elevation is high, the slopes are steep, the nutrients are low. All these factors cause the grapes to struggle and produce concentrated, intense wines. Winegrowing on Mt. Veeder is not for the timid—which is part of what makes it so exciting.
The Howell Mountain AVA, home to the 2019 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon, is not measured by creek or property line, but by elevation. Surrounded by pine forests, the volcanic vineyards of Howell Mountain sit above the fog line, between 1,400-2,500 feet in elevation. While a blanket of morning fog of the Pacific cools down most of the valley, high-elevation mountain sites like our W.S. Keyes Vineyard depend on elevation to keep things more temperate. Howell Mountain’s unique microclimate provides abundant morning sunshine, but lower daytime temperatures overall. Moderate temperatures plus the windy high-elevation slopes help Howell Mountain berries develop thicker skins and provide tremendous structure and ageability to the final wines. In an expressive vintage like 2019, these two wines show off the magnificence of mountain-grown fruit, the uniqueness of each AVA, and the caliber of our estate vineyards. We’re so excited to share them with you
Winemaker Chris Carpenter
2019 Mt. Brave
2019 La Jota Vineyard Co.
Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
At Howell Mountain, the moderate fall weather allowed the grapes to hang for quite a while; our last fruit was picked on November 1. The 2019 La Jota Cabernet is exceptionally expressive after a few minutes in the glass. Blackberry, plum, tobacco, and anis seamlessly integrate on the palate. The wine is framed by broad tannins and the finish is carried by a beautifully balanced acidity.”