This week we have a great opportunity to taste the Keenan wines from the Spring Mountian appellation in Napa Valley. The Keenan wines have enjoyed a very successful history since they were created in the 1970s. Keenan reached world wide recognition when in 1988 their Merlot tied for the best Merlot in the world against the famous Petrus Merlot from Bordeaux.
The praises continue to come! For example Wine critic Robert Parker proclaimed: “If you haven’t discovered the wines of Robert Keenan, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon as quality appears to go from strength to strength.” In the last 10 vintages, he has rated 55 of Keenan’s wines between 90 and 97 points.
The wines we will taste include...
2012 Keenan Chardonnay
Keenan's 2012 Chardonnay was hand-harvested and the gently pressed juice fermented in a combination of French and American oak barrels. The wine continued to age in-barrel with weekly lees stirring, but no malolactic fermentation was carried out in order to retain a citrusy and bright profile. From the winery: "The finished wine shows citrus, ripe pear and green apple in the nose. Hints of lush white peach are noticed as the wine opens up. The sur-lie aging has added richness and complexity, and a touch of toasty oak returns on the finish. Like all of Keenan’s wines, this Chardonnay is a food worthy wine whose crisp acidity and medium body will accompany a wide variety of food fare."
2010 Keenan Cabernet
91 points Robert Parker: The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is laced with an exciting melange of black cherries, incense, tobacco, mocha, graphite and dried flowers. Deceptively medium in body, the 2010 possesses gorgeous aromatics and tons of pure nuance, all in an understated style I find highly appealing. Today, the wine is a bit compact, but it should grow nicely with further time in bottle. The 2010 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 61% from Spring Mountain and 39% from Pope Valley. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.
2011 Keenan Merlot
The 2011 Merlot reveals a wonderful smoky espresso-scented nose with a hint of black cherry liqueur. Medium-bodied and moderately colored, it is not terribly rich or profoundly deep, but it is lush, velvety and endearing. I suspect most wine consumers may prefer this Merlot to some of the more highly rated and concentrated vintages that require a few years of bottle age. This can be enjoyed in its first 3-4 years of life.
2009 Keenan Reserve Cabernet
94 Points Robert Parker: The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve shares much of the same aromatic flavor profile as the 2010, but it is a bit less tannic and structured. Layers of fruit build to an effortless, huge finish long on texture and pure class. This voluptuous, highly expressive Cabernet Sauvignon is likely to drink well earlier than the 2010, but it also has the pedigree to age gracefully for years. The blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.