Keenan Winery is located in Spring Mountain District, high in the Mayacamas mountain range above the town of Saint Helena. Seventeen acres of Merlot vines were planted in the gravelly soils surrounding the winery, and it is these vines that produce some of the finest Merlot in Napa. The vineyards are situated above the dense layer of fog that creeps up the Napa Valley most evenings. Consequently the vines warm up earlier in the morning and stay warm through the night. The combination of warm temperatures, steep hillside vine rows and gravelly soils promotes more stress on the vines leading to increased intensity in the finished wine.
The 2002 Keenan Merlot is composed of seventy percent Keenan Estate Merlot. The remainder of this wine is made up of Merlot fruit harvested from the Napa Carneros region. In addition, three percent Estate Cabernet Franc has been added to the blend in order to add additional complexity. After hand harvesting, the grapes were de-stemmed and inoculated with Montrachet yeast. Fermentation ranged from seven to twelve days before pressing.
The'02 Merlot has been aged in thirty-three percent new French and American oak barrels for nineteen months. The resulting wine shows ripe plum, blackberry, cocoa and spice aromas that are enhanced by a toasty oak background. Consumers can expect this Merlot to open up to a rich, velvety, full-bodied wine.
This review is actually about the 2005 Merlot. I've tasted the 2002 Merlot which was great. The 2005 Merlot, however needs a little more breathing time to fully appreciate its qualities. Prior to opening the bottle, make sure you cool it down to at least 65-68 degrees. Once it is cooled, open it and let it breathe for at least 30 min. It's amazing how much more it's flavors and qualities come out of the dark after this process! I give it 3 stars because of the extra effort needed to bring out its flavor. Otherwise, it is a very nice Merlot. Enjoy!