The 2017 growing season commenced with a wet spring followed by a temperate, gorgeous
summer. A mid-September heatwave was followed by a cooling period which lengthened the
growing season leading to optimal ripeness. The second week of October saw high winds which
brought disaster in the form of fires. Fortunately, the entirety of the fruit was harvested before
this devastating event. The 2017 La Jota Merlot showcases dark ripe berries, black cherry, and
espresso bean. A broad textural impact charms the mid-palate and classic Howell Mountain
minerality drives the long, opulent finish.
We hand-harvested grapes into small, 30-pound boxes to prevent crushing, and then we brought
them to the winery for hand-sorting. After destemming and light crushing, the must was
cold-soaked for gentle color, flavor and tannin extraction. Winemaker Chris Carpenter
fermented the juice with native yeast in a combination of open and closed-top stainless steel
tanks. Following gentle basket press, the wine underwent in-barrel malolactic fermentation,
rounding the acidity and integrating the vanilla character of French oak. The wine was
barrel-aged for 20 months and bottled unfined and unfiltered.