2016 La Jota Merlot Howell Mountain

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2016 La Jota Merlot Howell Mountain

One of the top Merlots in the report is certainly the 2016 Merlot Howell Mountain from La Jota. This fabulous wine boasts a deep purple color as well as a true “wow” nose of blackberries, ripe cherries, spice, bay leaf, and ample savory, complex herbal notes. It’s medium to full-bodied, has a layered, balanced style, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Drink it any time over the coming two decades.

Jeb Dunnuck | 96 JD
This tremendously impressive red wine is blended with small amounts of Petit Verdot and Tannat and given 20 months in French oak, a good majority of it new. Reductive at first, it expands to show root beer, cedar and dried herb in a classically structured and hugely concentrated frame of big tannin and weight. Enjoy 2026–2031.

Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
An elegant style, featuring lilting flavors of red currant and dried raspberry that show hints of cedar and paprika. Fine-edged, with savory richness midpalate. Dried green herbal notes emerge on the minerally finish. Drink now through 2026. 1,657 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 95 WS
Blended of 90% Merlot, 5.5% Petit Verdot and 4.5% Tannat, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Merlot Howell Mountain struts out of the glass with vivacious notions of preserved plums, Black Forest cake and blackberry compote with touches of baking spices, black soil, truffles and licorice. The palate is full, rich, concentrated and earthy with firm, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing long and earthy. 1,657 cases produced.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RP
This is a layered and round-textured wine with dark berries, chocolate and terracotta. Full body. Juicy fruit. Flavorful finish. Drink after 2021.

James Suckling | 94 JS
La Jota's 2016 Merlot is plush, rich and radiant, all qualities that can be enjoyed upon release. A dollop (4.5%) of Tannat and 5.5% Petit Verdot add explosive energy. Black cherry, grilled herb, pepper, new leather and mint all run through this plush, savory Merlot. This is very nicely done. Drink it over the next decade.

Vinous Media | 92 VM

More Information
Vintage 2016
Color Red
Country US: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
Producer La Jota
Rating 96 JD
Region California: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented. Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
Type of Wine California Red: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
Varietal Merlot: Merlot, the only grape varietal in Bordeaux that can compete with Cabernet Sauvignon when it comes to influence and the amount planted each year. Taking its name from the French word for a blackbird, Merlot is a versatile wine when it comes to social scenarios and food pairings. This versatility also earns it a spot in various blended wines, further solidifying Merlot as a staple in French winemaking.
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