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Keenan Mernet Reserve (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2005

Bordeaux Red Blends from Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
14.3% ABV
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

2005 marks Keenan's 7th consecutive vintage of "Mernet" (mare-nay), the proprietary marriage of Merlot and Cabernet. Each blend has been half Merlot and half Cabernet, but no two wines have had the same vineyard combination. This year the Merlot half is 45% Estate Merlot from their "Upper Bowl" vineyard and 5% Merlot from the Napa Carneros, and the Cabernet half is all Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon from their big "K" Estate vineyard.

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. Enjoynow or decades from now.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Another stylish offering is the 2005 Mernet Reserve, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot (350 cases). It exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue in addition to an attractive bouquet of white chocolate, licorice, and sweet blueberry and red cherry fruit, medium to full body, and well-integrated tannin, acidity, and wood. This Margaux-like red can be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years.
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Keenan

Keenan

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Keenan, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Keenan completed a solar power system on their property that went on-line in 2007. The system supplies all of the estate’s energy needs, including the winery, administrative offices, visitor hospitality area, and the homes located on the property. The Napa Valley Vintners have recognized Keenan as a “green” winery, which they proudly announce on the back labels: Solar Powered and Sustainably Farmed.

Spring Mountain District

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Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.

A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.

During the growing season late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.

Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

SSR137175_2005 Item# 137175