(Howell Mountain, California) $85
I usually like wines that are a bit more restrained, but I have to say, I’m smitten by this wine’s unleashed wild exuberance. Of course, mountain merlot is vastly different than “regular” merlot; it’s got more power, more potency, and more all-around gravitas. But big wines usually forfeit layers of flavor to achieve their magnitude. Not this one. The fleshy dark berry and sage-like flavors are laced with cassis, spices, and vanilla. An old stone winery atop Howell Mountain, La Jota was built in the 1800s by Italian stone masons and Chinese laborers who had worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. (15% abv)
93 points KM
Available at La Jota Vineyard Co.