The name Lokoya honours the Native American tribe who once inhabited Mount Veeder in the Mayacamas mountains on the western side of Napa Valley. The winery was founded in 1995 by Jess Jackson who began acquiring prime sites in the area from the early 1990s with a vision of showcasing Napa’s finest mountain vineyards.
Today Lokoya produces exceptional and highly sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Veeder, Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain District, and Spring Mountain District, four of Napa’s most revered mountain AVAs. Here the cool microclimates, significant elevation ranging from 1000ft to 2100ft, and poor soils offer exceptional conditions for creating intense, powerful Cabernets balanced with plenty of elegance and finesse.
Chris Carpenter became Lokoya’s winemaker in 2000 after studying viticulture and enology at UC Davis and cutting his teeth at Cardinale. Carpenter’s commitment to quality is such that he keeps only the finest estate fruit for Lokoya’s wines which may amount to as little as a few rows of vines from certain blocks. His intimate knowledge of the estate’s vineyards means he is able to combine top fruit from Lokoya’s own vineyards with small quantities of carefully-selected grapes purchased from partner growers.
Each of Lokoya’s single vineyard wines is produced tiny quantities, fermented using wild yeasts and without filtering or fining to capture the pure essence of the terroir. Lokoya Diamond Mountain has the tell-tale markers of the volcanic ash, or “moon dust” as Carpenter calls it, which characterises the estate’s vineyards in the Mayacamas Mountains at the northern tip of Napa. This shows itself in the finished wine with an enchanting aromatic profile of cedar, burnt toffee, and rich dark cherry fruit.
In contrast, Spring Mountain above the town of St. Helena typically produces a more overtly aromatic wine with floral notes and spice plum, complemented by freshness from the cool summer nights. Lokoya’s Howell Mountain and Mt. Veeder wines are both deeper, darker bottlings with an intense depth and concentration of fruit and powerful tannins which will reward extended cellar ageing. These are serious Cabernets which enjoy a cult following amongst American collectors and growing interest in Europe and Asia.