2016 - 2031
Robert M. Parker, Jr.
The 2014 Merlot is 90% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot aged in 76% new French oak. Carpenter told me that this wine emerges from a micro-terroir within the vineyard that has traditionally under-performed, but due to draconian crop-pruning and tiny yields, it has turned out to be a “rock star” in 2014. Dense purple, with a big, sweet kiss of mulberry, chocolate, mocha and coffee, the wine is luscious, fleshy, dramatic and even flamboyant, with fabulous fruit on the attack and mid-palate, silky tannin and a plush, layered mouthfeel. It is already drinking beautifully (as most 2014s are) and will continue to evolve nicely for another 12-15+ years.
This is the greatest set of wines to emerge from La Jota Vineyard Co. since the early 1990s, when it was under different ownership and the winemaker was Helen Turley. In this case, winemaker Chris Carpenter, who has done such a fabulous job at Lokoya and Cardinale, has finally gotten this acquisition by the Jackson family up to the high potential they had hoped for when they purchased the estate. Readers will be thrilled to see two profound Merlots have been produced from this high-elevation site, as well as a magnificent Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Moreover, pricing is moderate, although that’s likely to change, so jump on these 2014s, which are the best wines to emerge from La Jota in nearly twenty years. La Jota Vineyard is back and producing splendid wines.