Edition 40 | November 2022

Hello Mountain Wine Club,

In the November shipment, we take a step away from Cabernet Sauvignon — Napa's most-planted variety—and explore the power and intensity that mountain terroir brings to some of Bordeaux’s other beauties, Malbec and Merlot. The high-elevation sites we work with on Mt. Veeder and Howell Mountain sit well above the fog line, keeping daytime temperatures cool and nights warm. This temperature regulation helps delay harvest, letting the grapes hang for longer and develop deep complex Flavors. Napa’s mountain appellations produce some of the most profound Malbec and concentrated Merlot on earth. The 2018 Mt. Brave Malbec comes from the ancient seabed soils of Mt. Veeder. This is rugged terrain, a harsh and demanding place to grow anything. The elevation is high, the slopes are steep, and the nutrients are low. All these factors cause the grapes to struggle and produce a concentrated, intense version of Malbec. Simply put: I love this wine. I don’t like to play favorites, but I did write my master’s thesis on the variety. To me, Malbec is the grape that best shows off Mt. Veeder’s typicity. It’s a blue-fruited beast, and after some time in the cellar, the silky, resolved Veeder tannins are the true star of this bottle. The 2018 La Jota W.S. Keyes Vineyard Merlot is an equally exciting example. Sitting 1,600 feet above sea level, W.S. Keyes Vineyard is regularly windswept, producing berries with thicker skins, adding structure and age-ability to everything La Jota produces. This serious Merlot is sourced from one of the oldest and most prized blocks of the vineyard. La Jota is celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, and W.S. Keyes is a full decade older, first planted in 1888 and replanted in 1986. These are old vines, showing the range and sheer strength of Howell Mountain. In a harmonious, refined vintage like 2018, these two wines show off the caliber of mountain fruit growing in Napa at the moment. The uniqueness of these two wineries, the specialness of their AVAs, and the caliber of our estate vineyards are on full display in this shipment. We’re so excited to share them with you.


Winemaker Chris Carpenter

2018 La Jota Vineyard Co.
W.S. Keyes Vineyard Merlot

Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, CA

At Howell Mountain, the moderate fall weather allowed the grapes to hang for quite a while. Our last fruit was picked on October 29. Upfront, the W.S. Keyes Merlot displays concentrated dark fruit, dark chocolate, herbs, and fresh-pressed coee. e mouthfeel has a powerful weight that is supported by tannin backbone and balanced acidity


84.5% Merlot, 15.5% Cabernet Sauvignon


W.S. Keyes Vineyard


22 months in French oak (79% new)


99 Points

Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Robert Parker Wine Advocate, January 2021

Single bottle of 2018 La Jota W.S. Keyes Vineyard Merlot

2018 Mt. Brave
Mt. Veeder Malbec

Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley, CA

The 2018 growing season started with late winter rains; then a spring marked with intermittent cloudy skies likely delayed bud-break and flowering, which was then followed by ideal fruit set conditions, driving up overall volumes by 20 – 30%. Steady summer heat accumulation with only a couple of short hike spikes combined with a near-perfect fall season created great phenolic accumulation without high sugar concentration. A beautifully pure expression of Malbec, the nose delights with rhubarb and red cherries. The acidity is bright, while the mouthfeel is silky and framed by broad tannins.


Christopher Carpenter


Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley


Aged 22 months in French oak (34% new)


100% Malbec


95 points

Lisa Perrotti-Brown

Robert Parker Wine Advocate, January 2021

2018 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Malbec