Robert Keenan Mernet Reserve 2008
Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
2008 is our 10th consecutive vintage of "Mernet" (mare-nay), our proprietary marriage of Merlot and Cabernet. Each blend has been half Merlot and half Cabernet, but no two wines have had the same vineyard combinations. This year the blend is equally split between the "Mailbox" Vineyard and the estate Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337. The resulting wine is a seamless blend of the two varietals with an emphasis on high-toned sweet, delicious rich fruit with an almost hidden depth and structure to allow for indefinite aging. Enjoy now or decades from now.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2008 Mernet Reserve is composed of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. I've never liked the name that much, but I sure love the wine. Another prodigious effort from Keenan, it boasts an inky/purple color as well as a sweet nose filled with blackberry, black currant and cherry fruit intermixed with mocha and chocolate. Full-bodied and rich with an enticing suppleness as well as admirable length and texture, it should drink well for 15 or more years."
Wine & Spirits - "An estate-grown blend from the reserve merlot block of the Mailbox Vineyard with cabernet sauvignon from Big K, this vintage of Mernet is all minerality, all the time. That, plus red currant richness and cool mountain forest scents of pine and spearmint. It’s the gripping mineral tannins that set this wine clearly on Spring Mountain, the intensity and firmness of the structure they offer the wine. Remarkably, the fruit is there to balance and last in parallel with the tannins, holding the wine fresh. If you enjoy youthful cabernet, decant this for a delicious accompaniment to a well-aged, well-marbled steak. Or forget this in the cellar for at least ten years."
Robert Keenan Winery
High in the Mayacamas Range, at an elevation of 1,700 feet above the Napa Valley floor, are Spring Mountain and the Robert Keenan Winery and vineyards. This area was first identified as prime vineyard land by Peter Conradi in the late 19th century when he planted 100 acres of terraced vineyard in Zinfandel and Syrah grapes. The Conradi Winery operated until Prohibition when the vineyards and winery fell out of use. In 1974, Robert Keenan purchased 180 acres of forest on the defunct Conradi Winery site. No vines remained. Only the crumbling walls of the former winery and a few old broken tanks told of its history, but Robert was certain the mountain top vineyards would be perfect for an estate winery. He replaced tree stumps and rocks with rows of Cabernet and Chardonnay, hired an engineer to redesign the original winery structure, and brought in a contractor to begin construction. The winery was made operational just in time for the harvest of 1977. From that time on, Keenan has earned a great reputation for producing wines of intense character and renowned acclaim.
While the beauty and history of the land are appealing, it is the richness of the soils that makes the hillside perfect for an estate winery. These soils are, in great measure, responsible for the dramatic intensity of the fruit associated with the ultra-premium wines produced at Robert Keenan Winery. The winery recently completed a solar power system on their property. The system will supply all of the winery's power needs. The estate wines will carry the "Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed" phrase on the label. View all Robert Keenan Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.