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