La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2013

Full-throttle flavors include crème de cassis, blueberry, Christmas spice with lightly toasted walnuts plus a hint of melted dark chocolate perfectly integrated into a seamlessly elegant and plush texture. There is a ton of potential here that will take a decade to unpack, but is thrilling tonight with some decanting.

La Jota Winery

La Jota Vineyard Co. was founded in the 1890s by Frederick Hess, an immigrant from Locarno, Switzerland, who established a German-language newspaper in San Francisco. No doubt influenced by other European immigrants involved in California's nascent wine industry, Hess purchased 327 acres of a Mexican land grant—Rancho La Jota—high on Howell Mountain for his vineyards. In 1898 he built the winery from volcanic ash rock quarried right on the property; his first fermentation tanks also came from the estate—from a stand of nearby coastal redwoods.